Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences - Theses

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    Early maladaptive schemas associated with performance anxiety aetiology and phenomenology in classically-trained musicians
    Kirsner, Jennifer ( 2018)
    Music performance anxiety (MPA) is widespread amongst performing musicians, although research into developmental factors involved in its manifestation is minimal. The aim of this research was to explore the impact of childhood experiences with parents along with patterns of dysfunctional cognitive schemas that develop through childhood (‘Early Maladaptive Schemas’; EMSs) on the manifestation and severity of MPA in adulthood. Study 1 investigated the relationship between EMSs and MPA through online surveys. Study 2 then expanded on Study 1 by exploring childhood parenting experiences associated with the development of both EMSs and MPA through qualitative interviews. Study 1 employed 100 adult professional, amateur, and student classical musicians from across Australia (recruited via email and social media). Participants completed the Young Schema Questionnaire (Young, 2005) and the Kenny Music Performance Anxiety Inventory (Kenny, 2011). Factor analysis revealed four higher-order EMS factors, one of which was a significant predictor of MPA. This factor (entitled ‘Inadequacy/Impaired Autonomy’) comprised themes of failure, catastrophising, and incompetence/dependence. Study 2 included eight participants from Study 1, five of whom scored one standard deviation or more above the mean K-MPAI score and three of whom scored one standard deviation or more below the mean K-MPAI score. Participants were interviewed about experiences of parenting during childhood and adolescence, along with their experiences of MPA and musical training. Interpretative phenomenological analysis was used to explore themes in the interview data, which revealed three key parenting styles related to the development of MPA: Poor Parental Involvement and Availability, Unpredictable Parental Mood and Anger, and Parental Expectations and Overcontrol. Findings from both studies are discussed in light of clinical applications and interventions, and implications for both parents and music educators.