The Impact of Mental Toughness on Riders’ Psychological Responses to Injury

L. Hill, Emma Davies

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Introduction: Mental Toughness (MT) increases athletes’ abilities to withstand sporting demands, one such demand within equestrian sports is a high risk of serious injury associated with both ridden and non-ridden activity (Carmichael et al., 2014). MT is depictive of how a person responds to challenging, stressful situations, injury is a major source of psychological stress for athletes (Masten et al., 2014), therefore MT has been linked to effective injury coping in athletes (Johnson, 2020). This study aimed to investigate the relationship between rider’s psychological responses to injury and MT.
Materials and Methods: An online questionnaire was carried out including two psychologically validated scales – the Sports Mental Toughness Questionnaire (SMTQ-14) and the Psychological Responses to Sports Injury Inventory (PRSII) – completed by a total of 552 participants. Participants had all experienced a serious injury partaking in either mounted or unmounted equine activity in the 12 months preceding data collection. A Spearmans-Rho test of correlation tested the relationship between SMTQ-14 subscales – confidence, constancy, and control – and PRSII subscales – devastation, restlessness, feeling cheated, isolation and reorganisation. Kruskal Wallis tests were performed to analyse differences in SMTQ-14 and PRSII subscales between riders’ self-reported compliance with prescribed rest and how easily they reported this transition.
Results: Results indicated weak to moderate relationships between all PRSII and SMTQ-14 subscales, other than between ‘confidence’ and ‘devastation’. The strongest correlation was observed between ‘restlessness’ and ‘control’ (r= -0.489, p= <0.001). The ease of rider’s return was significantly affected by all MT subscales ‘confidence’, ‘constancy’ and ‘control’ (H (5) =41.943, p=<0.001, H (5) =18.894, p=0.002, H (5) = 25.657, p=<0.001). Ease of return was significantly affected by all PRSII subscales: ‘devastation’ (H (5) = 52.762, p=<0.001), ‘reorganisation’ (H (5) =42.144, p=<0.001), ‘feeling cheated’ (H (5) =29.329, p=<0.001), ‘restlessness’, (H (5) =57.862, P=<0.001) and ‘isolation’ (H (5) =49.679, p=<0.001).
Discussion and Conclusions: Findings suggest that MT has the potential to impact a rider’s psychological responses to injury, with more adverse responses seen in those with lower MT. The impact of psychological responses to injury and mental toughness on riders’ rest compliance and ease of return indicates that psychological skills training may be necessary to enhance the MT of riders to ensure they are adequately equipped to manage injuries as a result of participation. Education of equestrian coaches surrounding the psychological implications of injury and strategies for recovery is also suggested to ensure adequate support is made available to riders in their transition back to riding post-injury.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 8 May 2024
Event13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury University, Gloucester, United Kingdom
Duration: 8 May 20248 May 2024


Conference13th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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