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Mohammad Khabiri, Ali Moghadam Zadeh, Amirhossain Mehrsafar, Hamideh Abrisham-Kar,
Volume 11, Issue 1 (volume 11, issue 1, June 2017 2017)

The aim of this study was to compare effectiveness of progressive muscle relaxation and mental imagery-based relaxation on psychophysiological responses of competitive anxiety (cortisol levels) and self-confidence in elite athletes. For this purpose, 36 of elite Wushu athletes selected and randomly divided into two experimental groups and one control group. In the pre-test (first competition) competitive anxiety and self-confidence as well as salivary cortisol were measured in all three groups. In experimental groups, relaxation techniques was trained for 4 weeks. Data with univariate analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) were analyzed. The results showed that progressive muscle relaxation was more effective than mental imagery-based relaxation in decreasing saliva cortisol and somatic anxiety. Also, mental imagery-based relaxation was more effective on the cognitive anxiety rather than progressive muscle relaxation. In addition, self-confidence was increased after mental imagery-based relaxation. In general, it could be concluded that different types of relaxation training was an effective strategy to reduce psychophysiological responses of competitive anxiety and improve self-confidence.

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