A large proportion of jockeys report symptoms associated with mental health difficulties (MHDs), yet most do not seek help from professional mental health support services. Due to the paucity of literature in this field, this study sought to explore jockeys’ barriers to, and facilitators of, help-seeking for MHDs. Twelve jockeys participated in semistructured interviews, subsequently analyzed via reflexive thematic analysis. Barriers to help-seeking included the negative perceptions of others (stigma and career implications), cultural norms (masculinity and self-reliance), and low mental health literacy (not knowing where to seek help, minimization of MHDs, negative perceptions of treatment, and recognizing symptoms). Facilitators to help-seeking included education (exposure to psychological support at a younger age), social support (from professionals, jockeys, family, and friends), and media campaigns (high-profile disclosures from jockeys). Findings are consistent with barrier and facilitator studies among general and athletic populations. Applied recommendations and future research considerations are presented throughout the manuscript.
Barriers and Facilitators to Help-Seeking for Mental Health Difficulties Among Professional Jockeys in Ireland
Lewis King, SarahJane Cullen, Jean McArdle, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Giles Warrington, and Ciara Losty
Stressors Experienced by Professional Jockeys
Lewis King, Sarah Jane Cullen, Jean McArdle, Adrian McGoldrick, Jennifer Pugh, Giles Warrington, and Ciara Losty
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.