The effect of a sport- and nutritional programme on components of psychological development in previously disadvantaged school-aged rugbyplayers / Marlize Heppell
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This study aimed to determine what the effect of a sport development and nutrition intervention programme would be on the following components of psychological development of previously disadvantaged, primary school-aged rugby players: self-esteem; cognitive development, attention and concentration and social support. The participants were primary school boys between the ages of 9 and 14 years from disadvantaged communities. They were recruited on the basis of availability from six primary schools in the Potchefstroom area of the North West Province involved in a rugby development programme. The research design was a randomised, single-blinded, controlled intervention study. The children were randomly assigned to either an experimental or a control group. The experimental group of children received an exercise intervention and a nutritional supplement twice a week for a period of three months. The control group received no sport or nutritional interventions during this period. The research methodology included pre-testing, intra-testing and post-testing. With the pre-testing a comparison could be drawn between the experimental and control group regarding the above-mentioned psychological components. During the intra testing each of the 2 groups was evaluated separately regarding these components to identify any changes that could have taken place within the group from baseline to end. With the post-testing the 2 groups were compared with each other regarding these components to determine whether the nutrition and exercise interventions resulted in any markable changes to especially the experimental group. The results showed an statistically significant improvement in self-concept within the experimental group (p = 0.028) whereas no difference in self-concept within the control group was obtained. The effect of the intervention programme was not as clearly observable in any of the other psychological components. A longer duration of such an intervention programme could possibly contribute to better test results. The socioeconomic circumstances of the participants played an important role in the final outcome of the study in that it influenced the social support the participants received and it also had an effect on the test behaviour of the participants.
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