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Musical Performance Anxiety and the High-risk Model of Threat

Marcie Zinn, Claudia McCain, Mark Zinn
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 15 Number 2: Page 65 (June 2000)

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Abstract: Fourteen music majors were tested using the high-risk model of threat perception (HRMTP), a biopsychosocial model designed to diagnose and guide treatment of stress-related somatic disorders. Regression analysis revealed that negative affect, social desirability, peripheral vasoconstriction, and "catastrophizing" predicted state anxiety scores after jury performance (p = 0.041). A significant difference in hand temperature before and after jury performance was also found (p = 0.01). Social desirability scores were inversely correlated with negative affect and catastrophizing scores (p = 0.01). These results are consistent with predictions from the HRMTP, which predicts that people high in either overt or covert negative affect and catastrophizing are at greater risk for psychophysiological disorders than normals. The model also predicts that people who are high in social desirability (repressors) are likewise at risk because of inhibited pain perception. Since performance anxiety has been discussed by several authors as a psychophysiological event, implicating the role of the autonomic nervous system in the initiation and maintenance of stage fright, this model may provide a new pathway into the understanding of stage fright

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