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South African Journal of Occupational Therapy

On-line version ISSN 2310-3833
Print version ISSN 0038-2337


HOUGH, Petronella A et al. Roles, rituals and emotional regulation of rugby players at different competitive levels. S. Afr. j. occup. ther. [online]. 2019, vol.49, n.1, pp.51-57. ISSN 2310-3833.

Globally, people engage in the game of rugby as spectators, players and organisations on many different competitive levels for the purpose of leisure, work and play. It is performed on both amateur and professional levels and engaged in by male and female players ranging from pre-school to adults. The purpose of the study was to describe and compare the roles, rituals and emotional regulation, on and off the field, of male rugby players on three different competitive levels in the Free State, South Africa. A cross-sectional study design was used amongst rugby players (n=45); 1 team per competitive level (3 levels). The results of the study showed significant differences with regards to roles that rugby players on the different competitive levels assume and the importance which they ascribe to each role. Variations exist in the rituals that the rugby players on the different competitive levels perform before and during a game of rugby. The degree to which situations are experienced as stressful differs across the three competitive levels. Across these levels, the use of positive verbal and non-verbal expression is used more than negative expression. Across all three levels rugby players use emotional suppression more than situational reappraisal as an emotional regulation strategy. Additional factors and the comparison thereof on different competitive levels should be investigated in future studies.

Keywords : Roles; rituals; emotional regulation; occupation; rugby.

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