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Stressors and affective states among professional rugby union players

Nicholls, A. R.; Backhouse, S. H.; Polman, R. C. J.; McKenna, J.


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Professor Adam Nicholls
Professor of Psychology/ Leader of the Sport Psychology and Coaching Group

S. H. Backhouse

R. C. J. Polman

J. McKenna


The purpose of the present study was to examine (a) the sources of sport and non-sport stress and their associated symptoms on rest days, training days, and match days and (b) the temporal aspects of sources and symptoms of stress and affective states. Professional male rugby union players (n=16) completed the Daily Analysis of Life Demands in Athletes (DALDA) and the Activation Deactivation Adjective Check List (AD ACL) for 28 days. On match days players reported that few stressors were "worse than normal." Most stressors were "worse than normal" on training days followed by rest days and more stressors were "worse than normal" on the day after a match than on match days. Further, players reported an unpleasant, low activation state across the three analysis days, suggesting they were in an overtrained state. The findings of this study demonstrate that professional rugby players experience negative affect and a multitude of sport and non-sport stressors. Early detection of stressors and negative affective states could help prevent symptoms of overtraining and burnout and facilitate optimal training and sporting performance. Coaches and practitioners are encouraged to integrate the DALDA and AD ACL in their training and performance monitoring regimes.


Nicholls, A. R., Backhouse, S. H., Polman, R. C. J., & McKenna, J. (2009). Stressors and affective states among professional rugby union players. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 19(1), 121-128.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 5, 2007
Online Publication Date Feb 3, 2008
Publication Date 2009-02
Print ISSN 0905-7188
Electronic ISSN 1600-0838
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 1
Pages 121-128
Keywords Stressors; Affect; Longitudinal; Rugby
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