The relationship between anxiety and shoulder injuries among South African university and club rugby players

  • RL van Niekerk
  • E Lynch


Objectives. This correlational study investigated the relationship between competitive anxiety and shoulder injuries in a sample of club rugby players (N=112) from two universities and three suburban clubs.

Methods. The participants were asked to complete a biographical questionnaire and the Sport Competition Anxiety Test,1 while the injury history of the players for the 2012 season was obtained from the responsible health professions after consent was given. Group differences and a direct logistical regression were calculated to determine the relationship between injury and anxiety.

Results. The results indicated that rugby players who contracted a shoulder injury in a 1-year season have significantly higher levels of anxiety than those players who did not. However, the effect size of the difference seems to be small. The anxiety levels of players with shoulder injuries were regarded as too high when competing. A logistical regression, including various factors, was able to predict injury fairly well, but anxiety seems to be the only variable that contributed significantly to the model.

Conclusion. The results suggest that the contribution of anxiety to the occurrence of shoulder injuries in club and university rugby cannot be ignored. The high level of anxiety associated with players who suffered shoulder injuries has to be targeted with anxiety management skills as part of a player development and injury management programme.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2078-516X
print ISSN: 1015-5163