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Psychological predictors of injuries in circus artists: an exploratory study
  1. Ian Shrier1,
  2. Madeleine Hallé2
  1. 1McGill University, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Canada
  2. 2Cirque du Soleil, Montreal, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian Shrier, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Community Studies, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital 3755 Ch. Côte Ste-Catherine, Montreal, Quebec, H3T 1E2, Canada; ian.shrier{at}


Objectives To explore the relationship between potential psychological risk factors and injury risk in circus artists.

Design Historical cohort study.

Setting Cirque du Soleil training programme.

Participants Forty-seven circus artists training to become Cirque du Soleil artists.

Assessment of risk factors Artists completed the validated REST-Q questionnaire (19 domains) during their first 2 weeks of training.

Main outcome Injury risk ratio.

Results Of the five a priori exposures of interest, injury, emotional exhaustion, self-efficacy and fatigue were associated with an increase in injury risk (risk ratios between 1.8 and 2.8), but Conflicts/Pressure was not (risk ratio=0.8). Of the several specific psychological aspects that are considered risk factors for injury, low self-efficacy had the strongest relationship.

Conclusions Most of the strong psychological risk factors for injuries previously identified in athletes also appear to be risk factors in circus artists.

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  • Funding IS is funded by the Senior Clinician Scientist award from the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec.

  • Competing interests This study was done on Cirque du Soleil artists. IS is the Consulting Medical Director for Cirque du Soleil, and MH is the senior performance psychologist for Cirque du Soleil. The current research study was not funded by Cirque du Soleil.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.