Anxiety and Depression in British Horseracing Stud and Stable Staff Following Occupational Injury

Emma Davies, Sophie Liddiard, Will J. McConn-Palfreyman, John K. Parker, Lorna J. Cameron, Jane M. Williams

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Horseracing has identified several factors influencing staff wellbeing; however, the relationship between injury, anxiety, and depression is yet to be established. This study investigated anxiety and depression scores and their association to pain management, coping, and help-seeking behaviour in injured British horseracing staff. An online retrospective survey was completed by 175 participants, identifying injury prevalence, coping strategies, occupational risk factors, and Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) scores. Analysis identified 65.14% (n = 114) of staff reported anxiety scores above the threshold (≥8) and 59.52% (n = 104) of staff reported depression scores ≥8. Median anxiety and depression scores were higher for staff who viewed their employer as unhelpful (anxiety p = 0.001; depression p = 0.020). Heightened anxiety and depression were associated with an increased likelihood to use pain medication to manage at work, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s), alcohol, nicotine, and prescription drugs (p < 0.05). Implications for staff wellbeing is evident; anxiety and depression risks are high following injury, which may influence help-seeking behaviour, perceived job security, and coping mechanisms. This paper suggests it is vital to continue to investigate poor mental health and injury in racing staff and the implications for equine welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2023


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