Anticipatory Salivary Cortisol and State Anxiety Before Competition Predict Match Outcome in Division I Collegiate Wrestlers

Harry P. Cintineo, Shawn M. Arent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cintineo, HP and Arent, SM. Anticipatory salivary cortisol and state anxiety before competition predict match outcome in Division I collegiate wrestlers. J Strength Cond Res 33(11): 2905-2908, 2019-Anticipation of exercise and other stressors has been shown to result in physiological and psychological changes, which include increased levels of cortisol and anxiety. Combat sports, in particular, typically elicit robust anticipatory responses because of the distinct nature of these sports. Therefore, the purpose of this investigation was to examine the relationship between state anxiety scores, anticipatory cortisol response, and performance outcomes in college wrestlers. A secondary purpose was to determine the correlation between anticipatory cortisol and state anxiety scores. Twenty-six collegiate wrestlers were recruited to undergo saliva collection and to complete the State Anxiety Inventory before a wrestling match and again on a rest day in a time-matched, control session. Univariate analyses revealed that both salivary cortisol and anxiety were greater before competition than on a rest day. In addition, it was found that losers had higher levels of anticipatory cortisol and anxiety compared with winners. A significant correlation between salivary cortisol and anxiety was found as well. These data show that higher cortisol and anxiety may negatively affect performance. Athletes and coaches should work together to determine optimal levels of arousal and should aim to replicate this during both training and competition to ensure consistently high levels of performance through appropriate preparation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2905-2908
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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