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Resilience, well-being, depression symptoms and concussion levels in equestrian athletes

Annika McGivern (Denman St., Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
Stephen Shannon (Ulster University, Coleraine, UK)
Gavin Breslin (Sport and Exercise Science Research Institute, University of Ulster, Newtownabbey, UK)

Journal of Public Mental Health

ISSN: 1746-5729

Article publication date: 11 February 2021

Issue publication date: 14 September 2021




This paper aims to conduct the first cross-sectional survey on depression, Resilience, well-being, depression symptoms and concussion levels in equestrian athletes and to assess whether past concussion rates were associated with depression, resilience and well-being.


In total, 511 participants from Canada, Republic of Ireland, UK, Australia and USA took part in an international cross-sectional, online survey evaluating concussion history, depression symptoms, resilience and well-being.


In total, 27.1% of athletes met clinically relevant symptoms of major depressive disorder. Significant differences were shown in the well-being and resilience scores between countries. Significant relationships were observed between reported history of concussion and both high depression scores and low well-being scores.

Practical implications

Findings highlight the need for mental health promotion and support in equestrian sport.

Social implications

Results support previous research suggesting a need for enhanced mental health support for equestrians. There is reason to believe that mental illness could still be present in riders with normal levels of resilience and well-being.


This study examined an understudied athlete group: equestrian athletes and presents important findings with implications for the physical and mental health of this population.



The authors would like to thank all of the equestrian athletes who contributed their time to this research, as well as the organizations who assisted in sharing information about the research.


McGivern, A., Shannon, S. and Breslin, G. (2021), "Resilience, well-being, depression symptoms and concussion levels in equestrian athletes", Journal of Public Mental Health, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 172-181.



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