Smith, Smoll, and Grossbard are with the Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Seattle,
Washington 98195-1525, and Cumming is now with the School for Health, University of Bath, Bath,
England, BA2 7AY.
Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 2006, 28, 479-501
© 2006 Human Kinetics, Inc.
Measurement of Multidimensional Sport
Performance Anxiety in Children and
Adults: The Sport Anxiety Scale-2
Ronald E. Smith, Frank L. Smoll, Sean P. Cumming,
and Joel R. Grossbard
University of Washington
This article describes the development and validation of the Sport Anxiety Scale-2
(SAS-2), a multidimensional measure of cognitive and somatic trait anxiety in
sport performance settings. Scale development was stimulated by ndings that
the 3-factor structure of the original Sport Anxiety Scale (SAS; Smith, Smoll, &
Schutz, 1990) could not be reproduced in child samples and that several items on
the scale produced conicting factor loadings in adult samples. Alternative items
having readability levels of grade 4 or below were therefore written to create a
new version suitable for both children and adults. Exploratory and conrmatory
factor analyses replicated the original SAS factor structure at all age levels, yielding
separate 5-item subscales Somatic Anxiety, Worry, and Concentration Disruption
in samples as young as 9 to 10 years of age. The SAS-2 has stronger factorial
validity than the original scale did, and construct validity research indicates that
scores relate to other psychological measures as expected. The scale reliably pre-
dicts precompetition state anxiety scores and proved sensitive to anxiety-reduction
interventions directed at youth sport coaches and parents.
Key Words: sport anxiety measurement, reliability, factorial and construct
The study of anxiety, its antecedents, its relations with other psychological
variables, and its consequences has a long history of theoretical and empirical
attention within sport psychology. Cognition and arousal are widely considered to
be different components of the anxiety response, and a distinction has long been
made between cognitive and somatic anxiety (Burton, 1998; Davidson & Schwartz,
1976; Deffenbacher, 1977; Smith, Smoll, & Wiechman, 1998). Moreover, although
they interact with one another, cognitive and somatic anxiety can at times be
elicited by different antecedents (Burton, 1998; Morris & Engle, 1981; Morris &
Liebert, 1973), and they can be differentially related to performance, depending
480 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
on the nature of the task (e.g., Deffenbacher, 1980; Gould, Petlichkoff, Simons,
& Vevera, 1987; Smith et al., 1990). Recent research indicates that different brain
regions are involved in different aspects of anxiety, specically, anticipatory
anxiety (worrying) and anxious arousal during a task, supporting still further the
cognitive-somatic distinction (Heller, Schmidtke, Nitschke, Koven, & Miller, 2002;
Hoffman et al., 2005).
Theoretical advances stimulated the development of new measuring instru-
ments to assess the construct of trait anxiety. During the 1980s and thereafter,
sport-specic trait anxiety has frequently been assessed using the Sport Competi-
tion Anxiety Test (SCAT; Martens, 1977), a unidimensional measure that does
not distinguish between or measure differences in somatic and cognitive anxiety.
Although the SCAT has proven to be a valuable research instrument, it measures
primarily somatic anxiety (Smith et al., 1990). It is therefore limited in its useful-
ness for investigating cognitive aspects of trait anxiety. In 1990, cognitive-affective
models of anxiety and empirical ndings concerning differential antecedents and
consequences of cognitive and somatic anxiety prompted the development of a
new sport-specic multidimensional trait anxiety measure, the Sport Anxiety Scale
(SAS; Smith et al., 1990). Developed and cross-validated using both exploratory
and conrmatory factor analysis, the 21-item SAS measures individual differences
in somatic anxiety and in two aspects of cognitive anxiety, namely, worry and con-
centration disruption (Dunn, Causgrove Dunn, Wilson, & Syrotuik, 2000; Smith et
al., 1990). Differential relations of the scales with performance measures have also
been reported. For example, Smith et al. (1990) found that concentration disruption
was the strongest negative predictor of performance in college football players.
Since its development, the SAS has proven useful to researchers in a variety of sport
contexts and appears to be a reliable and valid measure of cognitive and somatic
sport performance anxiety (nCresswell & Hodge, 2004; Giacobbi & Weinberg,
2000; Johnson, Ekengren, & Andersen, 2005; Smith, Ptacek, & Patterson, 2000).
Researchers have also been interested in studying performance anxiety in
children. To extend measurement of competitive trait anxiety downward on the age
continuum, Martens (1977) developed a children’s form of the Sport Competition
Anxiety Test (the SCAT-C). Like the adult version of the SCAT, this unidimensional
measure proved to be a reliable and valid instrument and it has been used in many
studies to assess the antecedents and consequences of anxiety in children (see
Martens, Vealey, & Burton, 1990). Though useful as a global measure of anxiety,
the SCAT-C, like its adult counterpart, does not allow for the assessment of separate
cognitive and somatic components of anxiety.
Indications that the SAS may not be appropriate for younger age groups
appeared when Smith, Smoll, and Barnett (1995) used the SAS as an outcome
measure (together with the SCAT-C) in a study involving a coach-training interven-
tion designed to reduce situational sources of stress and thereby lower performance
trait anxiety. The children in the study ranged in age from 9 to 12 years. Following
data collection, a factor analysis of the SAS was carried out to ensure that it was
appropriate to use its three subscales as dependent variable measures. The analysis
yielded an uninterpretable 5-factor solution with numerous cross-loadings, indi-
cating a failure to replicate the 3-factor structure so consistently found in older
samples. It was therefore necessary to use the total score as the outcome measure.
Although the intervention resulted in highly signicant reductions in trait anxiety
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 481
on both the SAS total score and the SCAT-C (which were highly correlated), it was
not possible to assess effects of the intervention on the somatic anxiety, worry, and
concentration-disruption components of sport performance anxiety. In unpublished
data derived from 10- to 12-year-old children from a youth basketball program,
the SAS’s factor structure broke down again in similar fashion, this time with 6
uninterpretable factors (Everett & Barnett, 1995).
Failure to replicate the 3-factor SAS model in younger samples suggested two
major possibilities, one methodological, the other developmental. At a method-
ological level, it seemed possible that the items, originally developed using high
school and college athlete samples, were too difcult for some younger respondents
to understand, and that poor comprehension of item content was responsible for
the breakdown of the SAS factor structure. In a previous study using the SAS in
a younger sample, Weiss, Ebbeck, and Horn (1997), anticipating this potential
problem, deleted 3 of the 21 SAS items and rewrote 6 others “to enhance their
comprehension for children” (p. 56). Unfortunately, Weiss et al. did not factor-
analyze their adapted scale to determine whether their modications resulted in
the assumed 3-factor structure, so it is not clear whether they were successful in
remedying the problem encountered by Smith et al. (1995). To assess potential
readability problems in younger samples, we therefore subjected each SAS item
to a Flesch-Kincaid readability assessment (Harrison, 1980) and found that many
of the items had reading levels above the 9th grade. We therefore concluded that
the high reading level of the SAS items renders the scale inappropriate for younger
Failure to reproduce the original factor structure in younger children may
also reect developmental aspects of emotional self-perception. A well-dened
factor structure derived from a self-report measure indicates that respondents
are perceiving distinctions among items and responding differentially to them in
ways that produce clusters of items that share common variance and therefore are
assumed to have common psychological meaning (Nunnally & Bernstein, 1994).
Therefore, another potential reason for the breakdown of the 3-factor SAS structure
is that children’s emotional self-perception capabilities do not allow them to dif-
ferentiate between the three aspects of subjectively experienced anxiety indexed
by its items.
There are few studies in the literature that address this question of cognitive-
affective discrimination. Most developmental research has focused on the ability of
children to draw distinctions between discrete emotions, rather than on their ability
to make cognitive-affective distinctions. For example, in a cross-sectional study of
children in the 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades, Turner and Barrett (2003) performed conr-
matory factor analyses of scores on the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale
(Reynolds & Richmond, 1985) and the Children’s Depression Inventory (Kovacs,
1980/1981). At all grade levels, a 2-factor anxiety/depression model exhibited a
strong t, indicating that children as young as age 7 differentiated between the sub-
jective experiences of anxiety and depression. However, Clark and Watson’s (1991)
tripartite model, which postulates separate factors of physiological hyperarousal,
negative affectivity, and low positive affect, also ts the data well at all three age
levels. Because the negative affectivity factor has a signicant number of worry
items (but also noncognitive arousal items), this nding suggests a possible per-
ceptual distinction between physiological and cognitive aspects of these emotions
482 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
at even the 3rd-grade level. A study of age-related worry by Muris, Merckelbach,
Meesters, and van den Brand (2002) also showed that worry emerged as a cognitive
response to stress as early as age 3 and became more elaborated with increasing
chronological age, but this study did not relate worry to somatic anxiety.
Few studies have explored the cognitive-affective components of anxiety from
a developmental perspective. In one instance, however, White and Farrell (2001)
administered the Revised Children’s Manifest Anxiety Scale to children between
the ages of 10 and 14 and used conrmatory factor analysis (CFA) to test several
models, all of which posited separate arousal and worry factors. Their analyses
provided evidence of cognitive-somatic differentiation. However, the average
participant in this study was nearly 12 years old and no analyses were done by
age group, so that we cannot be certain of cognitive-somatic differentiation in the
younger age groups. Moreover, this question has not been explored within the con-
text of performance anxiety. The availability of a trait scale with age-appropriate
items could be a useful research tool in determining whether and at what age level
cognitive-somatic differentiation in emotional experience emerges in children’s
sport-related anxiety reactions.
Although the major reason we undertook to develop a new scale was the
assessment of multidimensional anxiety in children, recent developments involving
the SAS prompted us to expand its range of potential application to older samples.
Results of several studies indicate that the factorial validity of the SAS is not as
sound as originally suggested. Analyses by Dunn et al. (2000) and by Prapavessis,
Maddison, and Fletcher (2005) replicated the basic 3-factor structure, but called
into question the factorial integrity of the Concentration Disruption scale. Speci-
cally, two of the items on that scale either cross-loaded or loaded more strongly on
the Worry scale. Utilizing item response theory analyses, Prapavessis et al. (2005)
also found that one of the items on the Somatic scale had marginal measurement
properties. Moreover, their CFAs, while supporting the 3-factor structure of the SAS,
yielded a goodness-of-t index (GFI) of .88 and a non-normed t index (NNFI)
of .81, well below established standards for acceptable t (Hu & Bentler, 1999).
Although a revised scoring system for the SAS improved model t slightly (CFI
= .92, RMSEA = .063; Smith, Cumming, & Smoll, 2006a), we were hopeful that
the new scale would exhibit stronger psychometric properties and a better model
t. Our major focus was on developing a child-appropriate scale, but we saw no
reason why reducing the item reading level would not be of potential benet in
assessing older athletes as well.
In this article, we describe the development and psychometric properties of
the Sport Anxiety Scale-2 (SAS-2). Our goal was to provide researchers with a
reliable and valid multidimensional measure of sport performance anxiety that
would mirror the factor structure of the original SAS, but measure its dimensions
more precisely. Such a measure would enable researchers to measure individual
differences in somatic anxiety, worry, and concentration disruption; to study the
antecedents and consequences of cognitive and somatic performance anxiety in
children and adults; and to measure multidimensional anxiety in longitudinal stud-
ies that begin in childhood. Because the scale was developed within the context
of a coach and parent intervention project in which performance anxiety was one
of several outcome variables, we desired a relatively brief scale that could be used
as part a battery of outcome measures that would not overwhelm young children.
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 483
A by-product of scale construction was the ability to address an important devel-
opmental question, namely, whether and when children beyond the age of 9 years
discriminate between somatic and cognitive aspects of the anxiety response.
Both child and college-age athletes were involved in the development of the
new scale. A total of 1,038 child athletes (571 males and 467 females) ranging
in age from 9 to 14 years (M = 11.5 years, SD = 1.51) participated in the SAS-2
scale-development and validation phases. The majority of the participants were
Caucasian (78%), along with smaller numbers of Asian Americans (9%), African
Americans (6%), Hispanics (4%), and individuals reporting more than one ethnic-
ity (3%). The sample included 277 children 9 and 10 years of age, 418 between 11
and 12 years, and 342 at ages 13 and 14 years, with similar proportions of males
and females at each age level. The samples were drawn from several community
basketball programs in Seattle and from volleyball, soccer, and hockey summer
camps in Seattle, New York, and Boston. One sample of 188 athletes was used
in the process of item selection, and an independent sample of 850 children was
used for factorial validation of the scale using CFA. Other subsamples (specied
below), were used to assess test-retest reliability, relations with other scales, and
to test predictive validity in relation to state anxiety.
To assess the psychometric properties of the SAS-2 for older athletes and to
correlate the subscale and total scores of the new scale with the SAS in the age
population in which the original scale was developed, we selected from a sample
of 1,294 college students enrolled in an introductory psychology class 593 college
freshman students (237 males and 356 females) who were currently involved in
organized athletic activities ranging from intramural and club sports to intercol-
legiate sports, and/or who had participated in high school varsity sports during
the past 3 to 9 months. This sample had a mean age of 18.36 (SD = 3.17). Ethnic
group composition was 59% Caucasian, 33% Asian-American, and 8% African
American or “other.”
Children’s data were collected in group sessions within the activity context by
trained research assistants following the obtaining of signed consent by parents/
guardians. College-age participants were administered the SAS and the SAS-2 in
counterbalanced order during group sessions under anonymous conditions.
Our goal was to develop a brief instrument having 5 to 7 items on each of the
three somatic and cognitive subscales, providing researchers with a short instru-
ment that could be administered as part of a larger test battery. A rational-theoretical
(construct-based) strategy was used to generate new items written to represent each
SAS subscale’s underlying construct, but at a reading appropriate for younger chil-
dren. The underlying theoretical model was a cognitive-affective model advanced
by Smith (1996; also see Smith et al., 1998; Smith & Smoll, 2004), which posits a
3-component model with a higher-order global anxiety latent variable. For purposes
484 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
of generating items, the somatic construct involved various indices of autonomic
arousal centered in the stomach and muscles. The worry construct involved con-
cerns about performing poorly and the resulting negative consequences. Finally, the
concentration disruption construct involved difculties in focusing on task-relevant
cues. The constructs were narrowly dened in order to avoid confounding of content
(e.g., we avoided items like, “I’m concerned that I won’t be able to concentrate”)
that sometimes produced cross-loadings on the SAS Concentration Disruption and
Worry factors (Dunn et al., 2000; Prapavessis et al., 2005).
Each new item was subjected to a Flesch-Kincaid reading level analysis using
the Microsoft Word 2003 program and was retained if it was at or below grade 4.0
on that measure and if its content seemed similar to a corresponding SAS item.
After a preliminary screening during which 13 young athletes between the ages
of 8 and 11 were asked to read potential items and identify any they did not fully
understand, an initial pool of 30 items was generated (10 each for the Somatic,
Worry, and Concentration Disruption subscales). Participants responded on a 4-
point extent-of-experience scale containing the following anchors: 1 (not at all),
2 (a little bit), 3 (pretty much), and 4 (very much). The instructions had a reading
grade level of 3.6.
Exploratory Factor Analyses
Exploratory factor analyses (EFA) played an integral role in item selection. These
items were administered to the sample of 188 boys and girls between the ages of 9
and 14 (M = 11.31, SD = 1.42) who were participating in a community basketball
Following logarithmic transformation of item scores to decrease positive
skewness of item distributions, principal axis factor analyses were carried out
with rotation to oblimin (oblique) solutions. Oblique rotation allows for correlated
factors, as we might expect with components of anxiety, which are known to be
correlated. Factor analysis revealed three clear factors with eigenvalues exceeding
1.00 and a distinct elbow following the third factor on a scree plot. These three
factors corresponded to the Somatic, Worry, and Concentration Disruption sub-
scales of the SAS. All item loadings exceeded .50 on their factor and less than .30
on other factors. In additional to an overall analysis involving the entire sample,
supplementary analyses were conducted in the 9-to-11 and 12-to-14 age groups.
Selection of items based on their factor loadings at each age level, their judged
content validity, and their contributions to scale reliability resulted in a 15-item
SAS-2 containing three subscales, each consisting of 5 items. To approximate
simple factor structure as closely as possible, we retained items only if they had
oblique factor loadings of at least .60 on their primary factor and loadings lower
than .20 on the other factors. The items selected for the 15-item scale ranged in
Flesch-Kincaid reading scores from grade 0.5 to grade 3.9, with a mean reading
level of grade 2.3. The entire scale, including items, instructions, and response
category labels, had a reading level of grade 2.4.
A principal axis factor analysis with oblique rotation based on these 15 items
yielded the factor structure shown in Table 1 for the combined child sample. The
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 485
Table 1 Exploratory Factor Analysis of the SAS-2 with Oblique
Rotation for Children Ages 9 to 14
2. My body feels tense
6. I feel tense in my stomach
10. My muscles feel shaky
12. My stomach feels upset
14. My muscles feel tight because
I am nervous
3. I worry that I won’t play well .01
5. I worry that I will let others down .09
8. I worry that I will not play my best -.05
9. I worry that I will play badly .00
11. I worry that I will mess up during the game .05
1. It is hard to concentrate on the game
4. It is hard for me to focus on what I am
supposed to do
7. I lose focus on the game .09
13. I cannot think clearly during the game .18 .04
15. I have a hard time focusing on what my coach
tells me to do
Note. n = 188. Item factor loadings ≥.60 are boldfaced.
three unrotated factors accounted for 64% of the item response variance. The
same three factors, all with factor loadings exceeding .60 and accounting for more
than 60% of the response variance, also occurred at the 9-to-11 and 12-to-14 age
Because, by convention, EFAs and CFAs should not be performed on the
same sample, we elected to conduct a CFA as the primary analysis to test model
t in the college sample. However, for the reader who might be curious about EFA
factor loadings in this age group, a follow-up principal axis analysis with oblimin
rotation yielded a factor structure similar to that shown in Table 1, with item factor
loadings ranging from .64 to .92 on the primary factors, and no loading on another
factor exceeding .20. As expected on theoretical and empirical grounds, the SAS-
2 subscale scores, derived by summing raw scores on the individual items, were
substantially correlated with one another in the child sample (Somatic with Worry
= .64; Somatic with Concentration Disruption = .62; Worry with Concentration
Disruption = .63).
In the college sample, the corresponding interscale correlations were somewhat
lower (Somatic with Worry = .55; Somatic with Concentration Disruption = .35;
Worry with Concentration Disruption = .47). These results are similar to those
obtained with the original SAS (Smith et al., 1990) and with other anxiety measures
containing cognitive and somatic scales (nMorris et al., 1981; Sarason, 1984), and
486 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
they are consistent with cognitive-affective models of anxiety, which posit causal
relations among the subcomponents of anxiety (Smith et al., 1998).
Conﬁrmatory Factor Analyses
In the theoretical model underlying the SAS (Smith et al., 1998; Smith & Smoll,
2004), performance anxiety is regarded as a global construct that has three related
somatic and cognitive subcomponents. Accordingly, both the SAS and the SAS-2
are designed to provide separate scores on each of the subscales, plus a total score
that reects the global construct. Various researchers have chosen to use the total
score, the subscale scores, or both in their research (Smith et al., 1998). Accord-
ingly, a model involving one somatic and two cognitive factors and a higher-order
anxiety factor was the theoretically preferred model. We also evaluated the t of
the data to two other models: a 3-factor model reecting the somatic anxiety, worry,
and concentration-disruption components without the second-order global (total
score) factor, and a global single-factor model. These analyses were carried out
in a sample of 850 children (M = 11.23, SD = 1.87) participating in a variety of
community and summer-camp sports and not utilized in the EFA phase, and with
the college freshman sample of 593 athletes. To test scalar t to the hypothesized
model, CFAs were conducted on the total child sample and the college sample.
As part of another study focusing on the developmental issue (Grossbard, Smith,
Smoll, & Cumming, 2005), CFAs were also conducted on the 9 and 10, 11 and
12, and 13 and 14 year-old groups to explore the developmental issue regarding
cognitive-somatic discrimination and to assess factorial invariance across these
Maximum likelihood estimation using the Amos 5.0 program (Arbuckle, 2003)
was used in all analyses. Items were specied to load on only one factor each. A
variety of commonly reported t indices, including model chi-square, the compara-
tive t index (CFI), the goodness of t (GFI) index, the Bentler-Bonnet non-normed
t index (NNFI), and the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) were
used to assess model t (see Hu & Bentler, 1999). The latter indices have been
developed to address perceived inadequacies of the chi-square test, particularly its
tendency to yield signicant results with large sample sizes, therefore increasing
the likelihood of Type II error (Bollen, 1989). The NNFI and the RMSEA are less
affected by sample size and are therefore preferred by many experts (e.g., Fan,
Thompson, & Wang, 1999). Because the item distributions were positively skewed,
as is typical of anxiety scales, we performed a logarithmic transformation of item
scores to better meet the CFA assumption of multivariate normality prior to the
analyses (Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). No modication analyses were performed on
the data, although there was clearly an opportunity to improve model t by doing
so. This produced more conservative tests of the models but facilitates replicability
and comparisons by other investigators (Byrne, 2001).
Conrmatory factor analysis results for each age group are presented in Table
2. Using criteria recommended by Hu and Bentler (1999), acceptable model t was
found in each age group. At each age level, the data conformed well to both models
tested, with comparative t indices exceeding .95. For the combined child sample,
the CFI was .97, NNFI was .96, and RMSEA was .05. It thus appears that the 3-
factor model of anxiety, with or without a higher-order global anxiety component,
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 487
ts the data quite well. Acceptable t indices for both models were also obtained
in the college sample, indicating similarly high factorial validity for this age group.
Because some researchers may prefer to also use the total score as a general index
of sport performance anxiety, we present the standardized coefcients for the 3-
factor/higher-order model in Figure 1.
Factorial invariance refers to the extent to which a factor structure model
exhibits consistency across measurement periods or groups (Meredith, 1993). Of
major interest was whether the 3-factor structure of the SAS-2 exhibited structural
stability across age groups. Using Amos 5.0, we tested whether the standardized
item coefcients for the three factors, the variance related to the three subfactor
residuals, and the regression coefcients between the latent variables differed sig-
nicantly as a function of age. To test invariance, we compared the t characteristics
of nonconstrained (in which parameters were free to vary) and constrained models
when tested simultaneously across the three children’s age groups (Byrne, 2001).
The models did not differ signicantly from one another, χ
(6) = 10.62, p > .05,
indicated age-related consistency in the SAS-2 factor structure.
Table 2 Conﬁrmatory Factor Analysis Goodness-of-Fit Statistics
for Alternative Models for Children Ages 9 to 14 and for College-Age
9 to 10 years old
Three factors 87 126.89* .97 .97 .044 .028–.059
Higher order 89 133.81* .97 .97 .042 .025–.058
11 to 12 years old
Three factors 87 188.66** .94 .95 .060 .048–.071
Higher order 89 192.70** .94 .95 .060 .048–.071
13 to 14 years old
Three factors 87 184.31** .94 .95 .064 .051–.077
Higher order 89 185.69** .94 .95 .065 .052–.078
9 to 14 years old
Three factors 87 270.48** .96 .96 .050 .043–.057
Higher order 89 285.96** .96 .96 .051 .045–.058
Three factors 87 303.12** .95 .95 .65 .057–.073
Higher order 89 315.55** .94 .95 .066 .058–.073
Note. NNFI = Non-normed t index (Tucker-Lewis index); CFI = Bentler comparative t index; RMSEA
= root mean square error of approximation; 90% CI = 90% condence interval for RMSEA.
n = 155;
n = 431;
n = 264;
based on Grossbard et al., 2005;
n = 850;
n = 593.
*p < .01, **p < .001.
488 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
Figure 1 — Conrmatory factor analysis of the SAS-2 items in relation to a 3-factor
model with a second-order global anxiety factor. The values in the gure are standardized
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 489
Finally, we tested an alternative (null) single-factor model that posits no dis-
tinctions between the three cognitive-somatic factors. This model achieved a poor
t for all age groups, yielding CFIs and RMSEAs of .86 and .10, respectively, in
the 9-to-10 age group, .76 and .13 in the 11-to-12 group and .73 and .15 in the 13-
to-14 group. These indices are below acceptable t levels (Hu & Bentler, 1999).
Clearly, the null single-factor model is not a statistically tenable alternative to either
3-factor model shown in Table 2.
Means and standard deviations for the children aged 9 to 10, 11 to 12, and 13 to
14 derived from the Grossbard et al. (2005) developmental study are presented in
Table 3 as normative data. Descriptive statistics for the college sample are also
presented. In all age groups, mean scores on the Worry scale tended to be higher
than those on the other two scales, and Somatic scores exceeded Concentration
Disruption. Scores tended to be higher for college student athletes than for the
children on all but the Concentration Disruption scale. As is typically found when
anxiety scales are administered to nonclinical samples, score distributions exhibited
a positive skew.
Internal consistency and test-retest reliability analyses were carried out for the nal
15-item SAS-2. Cronbach’s alpha served as the measure of internal consistency,
assessed in the total sample of 1,038 children. For total score based on all 15 items,
Table 3 Means and Standard Deviations of SAS-2 Scores for Child
and College-Age Groups
Somatic Anxiety 8.29
Total Score 24.88
Note. SDs in parentheses. Subscale scores can range from 5 to 20; total anxiety score can range from
15 to 60. Data on 9- to 14-year-old groups based on Grossbard et al., 2005.
n = 277,
n = 418,
n = 343,
n = 593.
490 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
alpha = .91 (95% CI = .90–.92). Subscale reliability coefcients were .84 (CI =
.82–.85) for Somatic, .89 (CI = .87–-.90) for Worry, and .84 (CI = .82–.85) for
Concentration Disruption. Total score alpha coefcients exceeded .89 for all age
groups. For the subscales, coefcients ranged from .81 to .92 for all age groups
with the exception of Concentration Disruption at age 11 to 12, which yielded a
coefcient of .74. In the college sample, the alpha coefcients for the Somatic,
Worry, and Concentration Disruption scales were .89 (95% CI = .87–.90), .91 (CI
= .90–.92), and .84 (CI = .82–.86), respectively, and the total score alpha was .91
(CI = .90–.92). Thus, the SAS-2 exhibits acceptable internal consistency at both
the total score and subscale levels, and its reliability is quite similar to that found
for the SAS in older samples (Smith et al., 1990).
Test-retest reliability was assessed in a sample of 21 competitive gure skat-
ers ranging in age from 10 to 18 years (M = 12.6 years, SD = 1.75). The athletes
were retested 1 week after the initial administration. Test-retest coefcients were
.76 for Somatic, .90 for Worry, .85 for Concentration Disruption, and .87 for total
score, indicating acceptable measurement stability.
Acceptable reliability and factorial validity do not ensure that a scale is measuring
the construct it is designed to measure. The underlying construct must be embedded
in a nomological network that species relations with other theoretically related
and unrelated constructs (Cronbach & Meehl, 1955). This entails assessing both
the convergent and discriminant aspects of construct validity (Campbell & Fiske,
1959). Convergent validity was assessed by correlating the SAS-2 with other mea-
sures with which the scale was expected to correlate, and discriminant validity was
assessed validity through correlations with theoretically unrelated variables.
Because a major objective of our work was to develop a multidimensional
scale that would be valid for child samples, we focused particularly on the validity
of the scale in this population. In various subgroups of children aged 9 to 14 years
old, we obtained measures of achievement-related goals, coach-initiated motiva-
tional climate, self-esteem, and social desirability, all of which have been shown
to be related to anxiety in previous research. Relations with goal orientations were
assessed in a sample of 189 male and female basketball players ranging in age
from 10 to 14 (M = 11.52 years, SD = 1.65). Relations with motivational climate,
self-esteem, and social desirability were measured in a sample of 572 of athletes
drawn from community programs and sport camps (M = 11.27 years, SD = 2.14).
We also assessed the predictive validity of the SAS-2 by relating it to state anxiety
reactions in future competitive situations. Finally, we assessed the scale’s sensitivity
to an intervention that has been shown to decrease children’s trait anxiety.
Correlations With the SAS. If the SAS-2 is measuring the same constructs
as the original SAS, we should expect it to correlate highly with the SAS. We
therefore correlated the two measures in the college sample (n = 593) described
above. This analysis was restricted to the college sample because of the lack of
factorial validity of the original SAS for children. As shown in Table 4, the SAS-2
subscales correlated far more highly with their corresponding SAS scales than they
did with other SAS scales. Total scores on the two scales correlated at .90. The
lowest correlation involved the corresponding Concentration Disruption scales.
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 491
This may be attributable to the previously cited factorial shortcomings of the SAS
Concentration Disruption scale and the likelihood that the SAS-2’s scale is a more
valid measure of this construct. The SAS-2 scales may therefore be regarded as
appropriate substitutes for the original SAS in adult samples.
Achievement Goal Orientations. The nature of achievement goals and their rela-
tion to anxiety have received considerable empirical attention (see Chi  and
Duda & Hall  for reviews). In both educational and sport settings, research
inspired by achievement goal theory has shown that an ego goal orientation is posi-
tively associated with performance anxiety, whereas a mastery or task orientation
is negatively related to performance anxiety (Bandalos, Finney, & Geske, 2003;
McGregor & Elliott, 2002; Vealey & Campbell, 1988). Table 4 shows relations
between the SAS-2 and the task and ego achievement goal orientation subscales
of the Perception of Success Questionnaire (POSQ; Roberts & Treasure, 1995) in
a sample of 189 child athletes. As predicted, SAS-2 subscale and total scores were
positively and signicantly correlated with POSQ ego orientation scores and nega-
tively correlated with task orientation scores at levels approximating those found in
earlier studies with other anxiety measures, including the SAS. On a child-specic
measure of the avoidance (fear of failure) variant of achievement-goal orientation,
expected to be positively related to performance anxiety, Cumming, Smith, Smoll,
and Grossbard (2006) reported correlations of .34, .30, .39, and .40 with the Somatic,
Table 4 Correlations of SAS-2 Subscales and Total Score With
Sport Anxiety Scale
Somatic 593 .90* .57* .35* .79*
Worry 593 .86* .51* .77*
Concentration Disruption 593 .69* .58*
Total score 593 .90*
POSQ Goal Orientation
−.25*0 −.10 0 −.29* −.24* 0
Ego 189 .23* .21* .27* .27*
−.28* −.29* 0 −.32* −.34* 0
Ego 572 .30* .28* .35* .35*
−.40* −.47* 0 −.50* −.53* 0
Social Desirability 563
−.13* −.20* 0 −.16* −.19* 0
Data from Smith et al., 2006b.
*p < .01.
492 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
Worry, Concentration Disruption, and total score, respectively, further supporting
the convergent validity of the SAS-2 scales in relation to achievement goals.
Motivational Climate. Previous research has shown that the nature of the achieve-
ment environment created by signicant adults, such as teachers and coaches, is
related to performance anxiety (Papaioannou & Kouli, 1999; Walling, Duda, &
Chi, 1993; White, 1998). Ego-oriented motivational settings, where emphasis is
placed on besting and comparing oneself with others, are associated with higher
performance anxiety. In contrast, mastery (task)-oriented climates are associated
with lower anxiety. Table 4 shows correlations between athletes’ SAS-2 scores
and scores on the Motivational Climate Scale for Children (Smith, Cumming, &
Smoll, 2006b), designed to measure the motivational climate initiated by youth
sport coaches. As expected on theoretical and empirical grounds, Smith et al.
reported that SAS-2 scores were negatively related to mastery (task) climate scores
and positively related to ego climate scores. When analyzed at a team-mean rather
than individual-athlete level, several of the correlations increased in magnitude.
Most notably, the correlations between team-level ego motivational climate and
mean anxiety level of the team was .47 for Concentration Disruption and .41 for
SAS-2 total score.
Self-Esteem. Trait anxiety has consistently exhibited negative relations with
measures of self-esteem (Brown, 1998; Wylie, 1979). To test this relation using
the SAS-2, we administered the anxiety scale and the Washington Self-Description
Questionnaire (WSDQ; Smoll, Smith, Barnett, & Everett, 1993), a measure of global
self-esteem, to 563 child athletes. As shown in Table 4, the SAS-2 subscales and
total score exhibited the expected negative relations with WSDQ scores.
State Anxiety. Performance trait anxiety is regarded as a predisposition to experi-
ence high anxiety states under conditions of threat (Smith et al., 1998; Spielberger,
1966). Thus, an athlete who is high in sport-specic trait anxiety would be expected
to experience high levels of somatic arousal, worry, and/or concentration disruption
when exposed to stressful competitive sport situations.
To assess the predictive validity of the SAS-2 in a preliminary fashion, 10- to
12-year-old athletes (n = 28) from ve youth basketball teams were administered
the SAS-2 at the beginning of the season and then were administered a state anxiety
scale before an important late-season game 10 weeks later. The state anxiety measure
was adapted from the SAS-2 to allow us to assess relations between the SAS-2 trait
scales and corresponding state subscales (e.g., “I am worrying that . . .” rather than
“I worry that . . .”). The items were answered on the same scale as the SAS-2, but
in terms of “how you feel right now.” Moderate-to-high predictive relations were
observed between the trait and state scales. Somatic trait and Somatic state scales
correlated .38 (p < .05). The corresponding trait-state correlations for the cognitive
scales of Worry and Concentration Disruption were .74 (p < .001) and .46 (p < .01),
respectively. Total scores on the trait and state measures correlated .64 (p < .001).
Although replications with larger samples and in diverse sports are needed, these
results offer initial support for the predictive validity of the SAS-2.
Responsiveness to Anxiety-Reduction Interventions for Coaches and
Parents. Smith, Smoll, and Curtis (1979) developed a coach-training program
that is designed to help coaches create a more positive and less stressful competitive
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 493
sport situation for young athletes. Coach Effectiveness Training (CET) provides
coaches with guidelines designed to create a socially supportive environment
through frequent use of positive reinforcement, encouragement, and technical
instruction, while discouraging the use of punitive behaviors. Coaches are also
encouraged to create a task or mastery-oriented motivational climate, which also
has anxiety-reduction properties.
Smith et al. (1995) showed signicant reductions in performance anxiety
as measured by the SAS total score and by the Sport Competition Anxiety Test
for Children (Martens, 1977) among children who played for coaches who were
exposed to the CET intervention. Children who played for an untrained control
group showed slight increases in anxiety. Because the SAS factor structure could
not be replicated in this sample of 10- to 12-year-old children, it was not possible
to assess reductions in the multiple dimensions of anxiety in this study.
To assess the effects of the intervention on SAS-2 total and subscale scores,
an experimental group of 20 basketball coaches was administered an updated
version of CET called the Mastery Approach to Coaching, which focuses more
explicitly than CET did on promoting a mastery-oriented motivational climate. A
control group of 16 coaches received no training. Children who played for the two
groups of coaches were administered the SAS-2 prior to and 10 weeks later near
the end of the season.
Results revealed statistically signicant (p < .005) Time × Conditions interac-
tions on all SAS-2 subscales and on total score (Smith, Smoll, & Cumming, 2006).
Children exposed to trained coaches exhibited reductions in anxiety scores over
the course of the season, whereas children who played for the untrained coaches
showed increases on all subscales and total score as competitive pressures increased
near the end of the season. In the intervention condition, signicant reductions
occurred for SAS-2 total score (p < .01), Somatic Anxiety (p < .01), and Worry (p
< .025), but the decrease on Concentration Disruption was not signicant. Thus,
the SAS-2 appears to be sensitive to an intervention that has been shown in earlier
research to reduce performance trait anxiety.
In a second study in which mastery-promoting motivational climate interven-
tions were directed at both the coaches and parents of young athletes, a similar pat-
tern of signicant Time × Condition interactions were found for SAS-2 total score
and all subscales (Smoll, Smith, & Cumming, 2006). Again, signicant reductions
in total score, Somatic Anxiety, and Worry occurred in the intervention condition,
but the decrease in Concentration Disruption was not signicant. It thus appears
that Concentration Disruption is less affected by motivational climate interventions
than are the other scales.
Social Desirability. Because it is socially undesirable to endorse anxiety items
(Edwards, 1970), discriminant validity requires that variance on an anxiety measure
not be attributable solely to socially desirable responding. To assess the relation
of the SAS-2 to social desirability response set, we administered an 18-item ver-
sion of the Children’s Social Desirability Scale (Crandall, Crandall, & Katkovsky,
1965) to our large validation sample. Based on previous research, we expected the
SAS-2 to correlate moderately and negatively with social desirability. Instead, we
obtained low negative correlations not exceeding −.20 between the SAS-2 subscales
and social desirability. These correlations are somewhat lower than those obtained
between the adult SAS and the Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, an adult
494 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
measure of the same social desirability construct (Smith et al., 1990). Results thus
indicate that the SAS-2 is minimally inuenced by social desirability response set
and support its discriminant validity.
Perceived Competence. Athletes at all levels of self-perceived competence
can exhibit trait anxiety, and previous research has shown low negative relations
between fear of failure, as measured by the Performance Failure Appraisal Inventory
(PFAI), and perceived competence (Conroy, Willow, & Metzler, 2002). Given the
conceptual convergence of the fear of failure and performance anxiety constructs
(and the correlation of .50 between the PFAI and the SAS reported by Conroy et al.),
we should expect a similar pattern of results for the SAS-2. We therefore admin-
istered the SAS-2 and a 9-point measure of self-rated competence in basketball
(ranging from very poor to among the best) to a sample of 570 youth basketball
players. Low negative correlations were observed between anxiety and perceived
competence. Somatic Anxiety correlated −.07, whereas the cognitive Worry and
Concentration Disruption exhibited correlations of −.16 and −.06, respectively.
The SAS-2 total score correlated −.11 with perceived competence in basketball.
This result provides further evidence of discriminant validity in that the SAS-2 is
measuring something other than perceived competence.
The scale used in our research, together with the scoring key for the SAS-2
subscales, is presented in the appendix to this article.
Development of the SAS-2 was prompted by several issues relating to the facto-
rial validity of the original SAS. First, several studies suggested that at least three
items on the original measure had major measurement shortcomings (Dunn et al.,
2000; Prapavessis et al., 2005). Second, although the original SAS exhibited sat-
isfactory t indices in CFAs, we felt a need to improve its t to the hypothesized
3-factor model. A nal impetus was a failure to nd the usual 3-factor structure
of the SAS when the scale was administered to younger athletes in the 10- to 12-
year-old range. This failure raised two questions, one methodological, the other
theoretical. The methodological question related to the applicability of the SAS to
samples younger than those for which it was developed. Reading level analyses
revealed that many of the SAS items had reading level scores above the 9
One possibility, therefore, was that the 3-factor structure failed to replicate because
of item-comprehension difculties in younger samples.
Failure to replicate the 3-factor SAS factor structure also raised the theo-
retically interesting question of whether the three-component cognitive-affective
model of anxiety applies to younger children’s experiences of anxiety. Perhaps
children do not fully differentiate between cognitive and somatic components of
anxiety until some point in adolescence. Surprisingly, we found that with a few
exceptions (e.g., Turner & Barrett, 2003), little developmental research had been
done on cognitive-somatic discrimination in children’s self-perceptions of their
Development of a new version of the SAS with age-appropriate reading levels
has helped address both the methodological and the theoretical issues. Within the
9- to 14-year-old range, and in the college sample, the new measure yielded a
factor structure that replicated the three-component structure of the original SAS.
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 495
At even the youngest levels of our age sample, CFA revealed a good t between
children’s item responses and the 3-factor model, with or without a higher-order
general performance anxiety factor. Moreover, the factor structure remained invari-
ant across age groups. It thus appears that, at least down to 9 years of age, children
do indeed differentiate between the experiential aspects of anxiety that correspond
to the Somatic, Worry, and Concentration Disruption factors. Moreover, the SAS-2
subscales and the scale as a whole have high internal consistency and acceptable
test-retest reliability over a period of up to 3 months.
Conrmatory factor analyses strongly supported both a 3-factor model and
a 3-factor model with a higher-order (total score) factor. Thus, researchers can
justiably use the three subscale scores, the total score, or all four scores in their
empirical work. Especially encouraging are the high factor loadings and a complete
absence of cross-loadings at all age levels, as well as the substantial increase in
CFA t indices compared with results derived from the original SAS. We should
note that, although modication indices we applied could have improved model t
(particularly the RMSEA index), we elected to report unmodied CFAs, resulting
in more conservative tests of model t.
Although the SAS-2 subscales are substantially correlated with one another,
as cognitive-affective theories would predict, it is worth noting that the 3-factor
solution with similarly high loadings was also found when an EFA orthogonal
(varimax) rather than an oblique rotation was performed on the SAS-2 items. This
is important because factor scores generated from an orthogonal rotation are essen-
tially uncorrelated. Using orthogonal factor scores as either predictor or outcome
variables can help clarify the independent roles of cognitive and somatic anxiety
for theoretical purposes (see Smith  for a discussion).
Although additional work relating the SAS-2 to other measures is clearly
needed, preliminary results are promising. The scales exhibited low correlations
with a measure of social desirability, and they were essentially unrelated to self-
perceived competence, providing evidence of discriminant validity. Results bearing
on convergent validity were also encouraging. In the college sample, correlations
between the SAS and the SAS-2 were high enough to conclude that the two measures
are tapping the same constructs. The fact that the respective Concentration Disrup-
tion scales correlated less substantially than the other scales may be attributable
to suboptimal items in the original SAS scale that have cross-loaded with Worry
in some studies (Dunn et al., 2000; Prapavessis et al., 2005). On psychometric
grounds, the SAS-2 thus appears to be an improvement over the SAS.
Relations between SAS-2 scores and achievement goal constructs were con-
sistent with theoretical expectations and previous results. At the level of individual
athletes, ego and avoidant achievement orientations were positively associated
with anxiety and task orientation was negatively related. The type of motivational
climate created by coaches was also associated with differences in anxiety. At both
the athlete and team level, the more ego-oriented the motivational climate was
judged to be, the higher were the levels of somatic and cognitive anxiety reported
by the athletes. We should note, however, that these results are correlational in
nature, and all measures are based on athlete reports, so that causal inferences
cannot be made with certainty. Theoretically, we would expect that an ego-oriented
motivational climate would increase the potential threat value of the athletic situ-
ation and increase anxiety (Duda & Hall, 2001; Roberts & Treasure, 1995), but in
496 Sport Anxiety Scale-2
the absence of athlete-independent measures of the motivational climate (such as
observational measures), we cannot rule out the possibility that anxious athletes
tend to view athletic situations as more ego-oriented, or that some third variable is
responsible for the relation between motivational climate and anxiety. This topic is
clearly deserving of future empirical attention and will require independent sources
of data on motivational climate.
Two other sets of results provided evidence for the validity of the SAS-2. First,
the SAS-2 successfully predicted state anxiety scores collected 10 weeks later.
This is a key validity nding, given that trait anxiety is viewed as a predisposition
to experience state anxiety in challenging or threatening situations (Spielberger,
1966). The new state anxiety measure derived from the SAS-2 also allowed us
to test the predictive power of each of the subscales. Although all of the SAS-2
subscales predicted corresponding state anxiety components at a statistically sig-
nicant level, the strongest predictive power was seen for the Worry subscale and
the SAS-2 total score.
The SAS-2 also proved to be sensitive to a coach-training intervention previ-
ously shown to decrease trait anxiety in young athletes (Smith et al., 1995). In a
more recent experimental study (Smith, Smoll, et al., 2006), children who played
for trained coaches exhibited a decrease in performance anxiety over the course
of the sport season, whereas children who played for untrained coaches increased
in anxiety over the same period, paralleling the results shown in the earlier study.
All of the subscales and the total score exhibited this signicant Time × Conditions
interaction. Similar results were obtained in a second study, this one involving
complementary interventions directed at both coaches and parents (Smoll et al.,
2006). It thus appears that the SAS-2 may be useful as an outcome measure in
research designed to evaluate anxiety-reduction interventions in sport.
In summary, reliability and validity studies indicate that the SAS-2 has good
psychometric properties. Further, there is evidence for factorial, convergent, dis-
criminant, and predictive validity. From a reading-level perspective, the measure
appears appropriate for use with children down to age 8 or 9 and with older popula-
tions as well. The SAS-2 can be used to extend multidimensional anxiety research
downward to younger age groups while measuring the same anxiety components
in older populations. The instrument seems suitable not only for basic research on
the cognitive and somatic aspects of anxiety, but also for assessing the efcacy of
interventions designed to reduce anxiety. Moreover, the instrument may be help-
ful in tailoring interventions to individual athletes who differ in their patterns of
somatic and cognitive anxiety. For example, an athlete with a high somatic anxiety
component might be particularly responsive to arousal-control interventions such
as relaxation training, whereas one high in concentration disruption might prot
maximally from a more cognitively oriented attention-control training approach.
Several limitations and unanswered questions should be noted. As in all
instances of instrument development, replication of results in future studies is
needed. As an example, the factorial issues involving several items in the original
SAS were not apparent in the samples used in the scale’s original development. Only
when the factor structure was studied in new samples (Dunn et al., 2000; Prapaves-
sis et al., 2005) did the item-loading disparities appear. Although our samples were
large ones containing both males and females, several age levels, and involving
Sport Anxiety Scale-2 497
several sports, additional research is needed within other athletic populations. Also
absent in our construct validation studies is information on relations with athletic
performance measures. There is a need for such studies in view of well-documented
relations of anxiety with performance outcomes (Burton, 1998; Smith et al., 1998).
More research is also needed with older-age samples, as our validity studies focused
on child athletes. Given the positive results on the CFA t indices in the college
sample, we are cautiously optimistic that the SAS-2 will be useful in the study of
sport performance anxiety in adult populations as well. We should note, however,
that the college sample represented a range of competitive sport levels and, in some
cases, athletes who had not competed at a high level for 3 to 9 months. Although
such a sample is suitable for correlational analyses on a trait measure like ours,
the validity of SAS-2 scores in relation to other variables and in other adult sport
populations requires future empirical attention. As Nunnally and Bernstein (1994)
note, validation of an instrument is a continuing process, not an end point, and much
remains to be done to extend the validity ndings reported here.
The problems encountered in using the SAS with athletes younger than the
high school and college athletes used in its development, and the success of the
SAS-2 in remedying these problems, illustrate the importance of assessing reading
level in existing measures and devising instruments that are age-appropriate for
younger populations. Many of the measures commonly used in sport psychology
research, like the SAS, were developed using college-age and adult samples. Our
recommendation is that researchers exercise caution in applying such instruments
(even those with high face validity) to younger athlete populations without assess-
ing reading level and the ability of children to understand item content. In using
multidimensional scales, it is also important to apply factor analysis to ensure that
the dimensions measured by the scale are reproducible in the younger age group.
Failure to do so may yield misleading results if the scale in question is inappropri-
ately applied to a child sample.
This research was supported in part by Grant 2297 from the William T. Grant Foundation.
We express our appreciation to the following for their assistance in data collection:
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Sport Anxiety Scale-2 501
REACTIONS TO PLAYING SPORTS
Many athletes get tense or nervous before or during games, meets or matches. This happens even to pro
athletes. Please read each question. Then, circle the number that says how you USUALLY feel before or
while you compete in sports. There are no right or wrong answers. Please be as truthful as you can.
Before or while I compete in sports:
It is hard to concentrate on the game.
1 2 3 4
My body feels tense.
1 2 3 4
I worry that I will not play well.
1 2 3 4
It is hard for me to focus on what I am supposed to
1 2 3 4
I worry that I will let others down.
1 2 3 4
Before or while I compete in sports:
I feel tense in my stomach.
1 2 3 4
I lose focus on the game.
1 2 3 4
I worry that I will not play my best.
1 2 3 4
I worry that I will play badly.
1 2 3 4
My muscles feel shaky.
1 2 3 4
Before or while I compete in sports:
I worry that I will mess up during the game.
1 2 3 4
My stomach feels upset.
1 2 3 4
13. I cannot think clearly during the game. 1 2 3 4
14. My muscles feel tight because I am nervous. 1 2 3 4
15. I have a hard time focusing on what my coach tells
me to do.
1 2 3 4
Scoring Key. Somatic: Items 2, 6, 10, 12, 14; Worry: Items 3, 5, 8, 9, 11; Concentration
Disruption: Items 1, 4, 7, 13, 15.
Appendix: Sport Anxiety Scale-2