Adjustment to Retirement of Horse Racing Jockeys

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Lynch, Daniel (2006) Adjustment to Retirement of Horse Racing Jockeys. Research Master thesis, Victoria University.


Retirement from sport can be a problematic and traumatic experience for athletes. Retirement from professional horse racing can be particularly distressful for jockeys. This thesis describes how former professional jockeys' adjusted to retirement. The participants in the present study were 72 retired jockeys, who had been retired between one and forty-one years. Retired jockeys were examined in relation to physical, mental, and social adjustment to retirement. Adjustment was also assessed for the different forms of retirement, namely, voluntary and involuntary retirement. Adjustment to retirement of involuntarily retired jockeys was also examined according to length of retirement, that is, less than 10 years, between 10 and 20 years, and greater than 20 years. Adjustment to retirement was measured using the Retired Jockeys Questionnaire (Speed et al., 2001). Descriptive analysis indicated that retired jockeys experienced physical health problems (e.g., back, hip, arthritis), and mental problems (e.g., forming an identity outside the racing industry, emotional distress). In addition, jockeys experienced social problems (e.g., losing contact with friends within the racing industry, maintaining a social life within the racing industry). Inferential analysis was used to identify differences between the retirement experiences of voluntarily and involuntarily retired jockeys. In ail cases, jockeys who retired involuntarily reported more health problems than jockeys who retired voluntarily. Specifically, differences between voluntary and involuntary retirees were found for arthritis, F (1,71) = -4.59, p < ,001, d = 1.39, osteoporosis, F (1,71) = -3.74, p < .001, d = .82, immune system, F (1,71) = - 3.73, p < .001, d = .79, and kidney problems, F (1,71) = -3.62, p < .001, d = 0.77. Involuntary retirement was associated with a higher reported level of problems universally. Differences between the voluntary and involuntary retirees were also found for mental health issues, specifically for, identity difficulties leaving the racing industry, F (1,71) = -2.99, p < .004, d = 1.22, and identity opportunities, F (1,71) = -2.31, p < ,024, d = 0.94. Jockeys who retired involuntarily also experienced greater problems with social issues. There was a significant difference between voluntary and involuntary retirees for social support from friends, F (1, 71) = -1.95, p < .001, d = 0.78, social support from family, F (1,71) = -1.85, p < .001, d = 0.74, social support from other jockeys F (1,71) = -2.57, p < .001, d = 1.04, social support from the racing industry I: (1,71) = -3.68, p < .001, d= 1.50, social isolation F (1, 71) = -2.32, p < .001, d = 0.93, and social difficulties with old racing friends F (1,58) = -2.26, p < ,030, d = 0.91. Differences were found between the three groups of involuntarily retired jockeys, for joint problems, F (1, 58) = 2.70, p < .08, R2 = ,081, and back problems, F (1, 58) = 1.20, p = .30, R2 = ,039, showing that those jockeys retired for less than 10 years and those retired more than 20 years reported more problems than those jockeys who had been retired for between 10 and 20 years. There were differences for mental health issues between the three involuntarily retired groups, particularly for those jockeys who had been retired for between 10 and 20 years, who experienced more problems with identity after leaving the racing industry, than those jockeys retired for less than 10 years or greater than 20 years. There were differences between the three retirement groups with respect to social issues, specifically family relationship difficulties, F (I, 58) = 2.90, p < .06, R2 = .089, whereby those jockeys who had been retired for less than 10 years reported experiencing more problems. The results indicate that the type of retirement experience, voluntary or involuntary and the length of involuntary retirement had an influence on the adjustment to retirement for jockeys. Implications for professional and applied work in the area of career termination are discussed, and suggestions are made regarding future research on career transitions from sport.

Additional Information

Master of Applied Science

Item type Thesis (Research Master thesis)
Subjects Historical > RFCD Classification > 220000 Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts-General
Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords retirement; horse racing; jockeys; adjustment
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