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with the USA Women’s gymnastics team. It was a five-year service and research

program, which included data for longitudinal analyses (Gordin & Henschen, 1989).

The researchers specified five psychological characteristics that are important in the

sport of gymnastics. The five critical areas studied were self-concept, emotional set,

achievement motivation, concentration, and anxiety. The first of these, self-concept,

was assessed by the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale (Fitts, 1965; Marsh & Richards,

1988). The researchers point out that self-concept of elite gymnasts is not always as

high as it should be. The second psychological characteristic, emotional set, was

assessed by the Profile of Moods State Inventory (POMS; McNair, Lorr, &

Droppleman, 1971). Another characteristic, achievement motivation, was examined by

the Scale for Sporting Environments (Rushall & Fox, 1980). As the researchers point

out, it is extremely important in gymnastics to approach a competition with the thought

of succeeding rather than avoiding failure. One of the most important psychological

characteristics to a gymnast is concentration, which was quantified by Nideffer’s Test

of Attentional and Interpersonal Style (TAIS; Nideffer, 1990). Concentration is

extremely important to a gymnast considering the difficult and dangerous skills they are

performing as well as the need to be flawless in their execution. Finally, anxiety level

was examined utilizing the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI; Spielberger, Gorsuch,

& Lushene, 1970). Anxiety, being transient, is one of the variables requiring frequent

assessment.

Although the primary goal for Gordin and Henschen (1988) was to help prepare

the national team for international competition and the 1988 Olympics, they were also

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