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First Study Examining Racehorse Trainer Mental Health

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First Study Examining Racehorse Trainer Mental HealthWIT

New research data from WIT finds almost one in two Irish racehorse trainers met the threshold indicative of a common mental disorder (CMD)

The first study of its kind in Ireland and one of very few to explore racehorse trainer mental health globally obtained data from 124, or almost 30%, of racehorse trainers in Ireland.

The study, funded by Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s (IHRB), was conducted by Lewis King, a PhD student in Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and is published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

Risk factors for CMD prevalence

The study suggests that prevalence of common mental disorder (CMD) symptoms may be greater among racehorse trainers than other rural occupations such as farming. Prevalence rates of depression (41%), adverse alcohol use (38%), distress (26%) and anxiety (18%) were observed. The study also explored potential risk factors for CMD prevalence. Findings indicated that career dissatisfaction, lower levels of social support and financial difficulties increased the likelihood of meeting the threshold for depression, distress and anxiety.

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