This paper provides a critical overview of developments and issues in competitive anxiety research. The discussion is divided into sections dealing with general arousal-based approaches, general anxiety-based approaches and, finally, multidimensional anxiety-based approaches. The major emphasis is on multidimensional anxiety-based approaches, in which a number of factors and issues surrounding the competitive anxiety response are addressed, including: conceptual and measurement developments; antecedents of competitive anxiety; temporal patterning of the response; and frequency of competition-related cognitive intrusions. Research which has examined the relationship between multidimensional anxiety and performance is considered in detail, including debilitative and facilitative competitive anxiety states and catastrophe models. A control model of debilitative and facilitative competitive anxiety is proposed. Finally, recommendations for future research are suggested.