Awareness of the prevalence of symptoms of common mental disorders (CMD) should be improved in international rugby, and an interdisciplinary approach including psychological attention should be fostered in the medical care of professional rugby players. This is the main conclusion of a recent study to which we contributed.
Adequate supportive measures to enhance awareness and psychological resilience would not only lead to improved health and quality of life among rugby players but arguably to enhanced performance in rugby. This is what could be recommended out of a cross-sectional study that determined the prevalence of symptoms of common mental disorders among professional rugby players across countries. In nine national players’ associations and three rugby unions questionnaires based on validated scales for assessing symptoms of common mental disorders were distributed.
Among the whole study sample (N = 990; overall response rate of 28 %), 4-week prevalence of symptoms of CMD ranged from 15 % for adverse alcohol use to 30 % for anxiety/depression. These findings support the prevalence rates of symptoms of common mental disorders found in previous studies among professional (i. e., elite) athletes across other sports, and suggestions can be made that the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety/depression seems slightly higher in professional rugby than in other general/occupational populations.
Gouttebarge V, Hopley P, Kerkhoffs GMMJ, et al. Symptoms Of Common Mental Disorders In Professional Rugby: An International Observational Descriptive Study. Int J Sports Med 2017;:1–7