Measurement of cognitive and somatic anxiety amongst first team high school rugby players
Currently, knowledge is limited about how high school rugby players experience cognitive and somatic anxiety when playing competitive rugby. The first aim of the study was to determine if high school rugby players displayed significant differences in cognitive and somatic anxiety before and after an important rugby match. The second aim sought to determine to what extent the important rugby match alters the cognitive and somatic anxiety experienced by high school rugby players. In order to realize these aims, high school rugby players were compared to male adolescents who were not participating in any type of sport. A purposeful sample of 10 first team high school rugby players and 10 male adolescents not participating in any type of sport was drawn from a high school situated in the Gauteng Province of South Africa. Cognitive anxiety was measured through the administration of the State and Trait Anxiety subscales of the State-Trait Personality Inventory Form Y (STPI-Y) and the Sport Competition Anxiety Test (SCAT). Somatic anxiety was measured by investigating the salivary cortisol levels of the rugby players. A baseline measure, along with measures on the day of an important rugby match and one week after the important rugby match were taken. Statistical analysis within the group of rugby players revealed that significant differences occurred in the state anxiety and SCAT scores. No significant differences occurred within the cortisol measures. When the rugby players were compared to adolescents not participating in any type of sport, significant differences were observed between the two groups on state anxiety and SCAT scores. No differences with regards to cortisol levels had occurred. It was concluded that the rugby players had experienced cognitive but not somatic anxiety.
Keywords: Cognitive anxiety, somatic anxiety, state anxiety, trait anxiety, cortisol.