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Agnès Bonnet, Lydia Fernandez, Annie Piolat and Jean-Louis Pedinielli

The notion of risk-taking implies a cognitive process that determines the level of risk involved in a particular activity or task. This risk appraisal process gives rise to emotional responses, including anxious arousal and changes in mood, which may play a significant role in risk-related decision making. This study examines how emotional responses to the perceived risk of a scuba-diving injury contribute to divers’ behavior, as well as the ways that risk taking or non-risk taking behavior, in turn, affects emotional states. The study sample consisted of 131 divers (risk takers and non-risk takers), who either had or had not been in a previous diving accident. Divers’ emotional states were assessed immediately prior to diving, as well as immediately following a dive. Results indicated presence of subjective emotional experiences that are specific to whether a risk has been perceived and whether a risk has been taken. Important differences in emotion regulation were also found between divers who typically take risks and those who do not.