Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Zara Hitchen 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I am a student of Applied Psychology in IADT. I am from a 'sporty' household and grew up being involved in various sports, both playing and watching. I have a passion for sport psychology and I hope to complete a Masters in this field in the coming years. For my major research project, I investigated resilience in professional and amateur rugby and football players.

Project Description

Resilience is becoming increasingly topical as a concept for study in the context of sport performance. Much research has indicated a positive link between resilience and success in sport. Resilient athletes have been shown to recover and withstand hardship better, which is why the topic of resilience is growing in popularity within the sport psychology literature.

Project Objectives

Previous research has mainly applied qualitative methods to research resilience. The present study applied a quantitative approach to address this limitation in past research. The aim of the research study was to understand how resilience levels may differ between rugby and football players, and if sport level (professional/amateur) differences in resilience levels were also evident among those athletes. The participants were male players over the age of 18 years (N=72). The Brief Resilience Scale measured the participants' resilience. A 2-way ANOVA was used to analyze the gathered data.

Project Outcomes

The hypotheses stated there would be a difference in the players' resilience based on sport type and sport level, with a significant interaction between sport type and sport level also tested. The three hypotheses were not supported. A possible reason for these results include the long-term effects of COVID-19 impacting the athletes' resilience. A strength of the present study included being one of the first studies to compare professional and amateur football and rugby players' resilience. A limitation of the study was the acknowledged small sample size. Future research suggestions of the study included adding female participants and using more sport-specific scales to test resilience.

Thesis Title

An investigation of resilience in professional/amateur male rugby and football players.