Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Aurora Torres

Committee Member

Dianhan Zheng

Committee Member

Eric A Seemann


Helmets, Horse sports injuries, Head injuries, Human behavior, Behaviorism (Psychology)


The theory of planned behavior is a model wherein beliefs give rise to intention which results in action. We tested it by separating equestrians into helmet users and non-users then presented framed health messages manipulated in a 2 (Helmet: Present, Absent) x 2 (Valence: Positive, Negative) x 2 (Icon: Circle, Rosette) between subjects design. We measured equestrians' intent to use a helmet after viewing a short horse-accident video and found that helmet non-users were most responsive to positively framed messages focusing on helmet use instead of non-use. Reasons for helmet non-use in equestrians as well as information on head injuries was collected. Ultimately we found that helmet use was greatest for riders in sports that mandated helmet use. Helmet regulation possibly has a greater impact on intent than health messages. The majority of participants reported suffering a head injury, emphasizing the need for further study.



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