People who have difficulty identifying and describing their emotions are more likely to seek out the experience of emotions in the high-risk domain. This is because the high-risk domain provides the experience of more easily identifiable emotions (e.g., fear). However, the continued search for intense emotion may lead such individuals to take further risks within this domain, which, in turn, would lead to a greater likelihood of experiencing accidents. Across three studies, we provide the first evidence in support of this view. In Study 1 (n = 762), alexithymia was associated with greater risk taking and a greater propensity to experience accidents and close calls. In Study 2 (n = 332) and Study 3 (n = 356), additional bootstrapped mediation models confirmed these relationships. The predictive role of alexithymia remained significant when controlling for sensation seeking (Study 1) and anhedonia (Study 2 and Study 3). We discuss the practical implications of the present model as they pertain to minimizing accidents and close calls in the high-risk domain.
Matthew Barlow, Tim Woodman, Caradog Chapman, Matthew Milton, Daniel Stone, Tom Dodds and Ben Allen
Agnès Bonnet, Vincent Bréjard and Jean-Louis Pedinielli
Objectives for this study were, first, to describe individual differences in risk taking among scuba divers. Differences were examined on personality dimensions and psycho-affective variables, including positive and negative affect, as well as alexithymia. In addition, the study examined contributors to two types of behavior associated with scuba diving—deliberate risk taking and controlled participation in a high-risk sport (non-risk-taking). A cross-sectional design was used, and 131 participants were assessed on extraversion-neuroticism, affectivity, and alexithymia. The broad dimensions of personality and affectivity explained risk taking among divers. Alexithymia differentially predicted two types of risktaking behavior (direct or short-term and indirect or long-term) and was associated significantly with short-term risk-taking behavior.
Tim Woodman, Matt Barlow, Comille Bandura, Miles Hill, Dominika Kupciw and Alexandra MacGregor
Although high-risk sport participants are typically considered a homogenous risk-taking population, attitudes to risk within the high-risk domain can vary considerably. As no validated measure allows researchers to assess risk taking within this domain, we validated the Risk Taking Inventory (RTI) for high-risk sport across four studies. The RTI comprises seven items across two factors: deliberate risk taking and precautionary behaviors. In Study 1 (n = 341), the inventory was refined and tested via a confirmatory factor analysis used in an exploratory fashion. The subsequent three studies confirmed the RTI’s good model–data fit via three further separate confirmatory factor analyses. In Study 2 (n = 518) and in Study 3 (n = 290), concurrent validity was also confirmed via associations with other related traits (sensation seeking, behavioral activation, behavioral inhibition, impulsivity, self-esteem, extraversion, and conscientiousness). In Study 4 (n = 365), predictive validity was confirmed via associations with mean accidents and mean close calls in the high-risk domain. Finally, in Study 4, the self-report version of the inventory was significantly associated with an informant version of the inventory. The measure will allow researchers and practitioners to investigate risk taking as a variable that is conceptually distinct from participation in a high-risk sport.