Skydiving as Emotion Regulation: The Rise and Fall of Anxiety Is Moderated by Alexithymia

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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We investigated alexithymia and the fuctuation of anxiety in skydiving women. Alexithymia significantly moderated the pre- to postjump fluctuation of state anxiety such that only alexithymic skydivers’ anxiety diminished as a consequence of performing a skydive. This suggests that skydiving is an effective means of emotion regulation for alexithymic women. However, the significant rise in anxiety shortly after landing suggests that any emotional benefits are short-lived. No anxiety fuctuations emerged for nonalexithymic skydivers. The Alexithymia × Time interaction remained significant when controlling for age, experience, and trait anxiety. Results are discussed in terms of the potential dependence on risk-taking activities for alexithymic women.

Woodman is with School of Sport, Health, & Exercise Sciences, University of Wales–Bangor, Bangor, Gwynedd, U.K.; and Cazenave and Le Scanff are with UFR-STAPS Université d’Orsay, Paris, France.