Stressors Experienced by Professional Jockeys

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 Waterford Institute of Technology
  • | 2 Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board
  • | 3 University of Limerick
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The purpose of this study was to explore the sources of stress reported by professional jockeys. In total, 15 jockeys participated in semistructured interviews that included apprentice, conditional, and senior jockeys. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data that included inductive and deductive approaches. Jockeys reported a wide range of stress sources. Four core themes were identified and categorized as competitive (current form or being in a slump, pressure, horse, injury, opponents, tactical, and race day), racing industry (weight, workload, travel demands, injury concerns, suspension, and facilities), interpersonal (trainer, other jockeys, expectations of others, support networks, and communication), and career stressors (career uncertainty, career opportunities, and transitions). The findings highlight unique stressors to the jockey population, as well as stressors common with other athlete groups. Practical applied recommendations and future research directions are provided.

King, Cullen, McArdle, and Losty are with the Dept. of Sport and Exercise Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford, Ireland. McGoldrick and Pugh are with the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board, Kildare, Ireland. Warrington is with the Health Research Inst. and Physical Education and Sport Sciences, University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland.

King (lewis.king@postgrad.wit.ie) is corresponding author.
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