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Carole Castanier, Christine Le Scanff, and Tim Woodman

Sensation seeking has been widely studied when investigating individual differences in the propensity for taking risks. However, risk taking can serve many different goals beyond the simple management of physiological arousal. The present study is an investigation of affect self-regulation as a predictor of risk-taking behaviors in high-risk sport. Risk-taking behaviors, negative affectivity, escape self-awareness strategy, and sensation seeking data were obtained from 265 high-risk sportsmen. Moderated hierarchical regression analysis revealed significant main and interaction effects of negative affectivity and escape self-awareness strategy in predicting risk-taking behaviors: high-risk sportsmen’s negative affectivity leads them to adopt risk-taking behaviors only if they also use escape self-awareness strategy. Furthermore, the affective model remained significant when controlling for sensation seeking. The present study contributes to an in-depth understanding of risk taking in high-risk sport.

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Guy L. Rowland, Robert E. Franken, and Kimberley Harrison

A life-span inventory of sports participation and Zuckerman's (1979) Sensation Seeking Scale, Form V, were administered to 97 male and 104 female undergraduate students. The results indicated that, over time, high sensation seekers tend to become involved in more sports than do low sensation seekers, but low sensation seekers tend to remain involved with each sport for longer periods of time than do high sensation seekers. Gender and sensation seeking were found to interact in the choice of sporting activities. Low but generally positive correlations were observed between sensation seeking and participation in risky sports. These data suggest that both the need for new experiences and an attraction to high risk characterize the high sensation seeker 's participation in sporting activities.

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William F. Straub

Many problems are associated with the measurement of athletes in contemporary sport psychology. There is, for example, a dearth of valid and reliable tests to assess the many and diverse behaviors of players. The purpose of this investigation was to attempt to validate Zuckerman's sensation seeking scale (SSS V) using high- and low-risk sport participants. The SSS (Form V) was administered to male hang gliders (n = 33), automobile racers (n = 22), and intercollegiate bowlers (n = 25). It was hypothesized that the high-risk athletes (hang gliders and auto racers) would score significantly higher (.05 level) than the low-risk sport participants (bowlers) in total sensation seeking score and on the four subscales of Zuckerman's test. Stepwise multiple discriminant function analyses found that except for thrill and adventure seeking and disinhibition subscales, the above hypotheses were tenable. Thus, it was concluded that support exists for Zuckerman's SSS (Form V) as a measure of sensation seeking among male athletes.

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Stephen R. McDaniel

Some research suggests that males and females differ in terms of their enjoyment from viewing televised sports characterized as either violent combative (e.g., football and hockey), violent aggressive (e.g., basketball and soccer), or stylistic (e.g., figure skating and gymnastics) in nature. However, no theory-based explanation for the above differences has been supported. Zeckerman's (1994) theory of sensation seeking offers face validity in this context, as gender differences have been associated with the personality trait as has the consumption of violent media and contact sports (Krcmar & Green, 1999; Schroth, 1994). A snowball quota sample (n = 305) was employed to investigate adults' (18+) interest in viewing different types of sports telecasts (i.e., combative and stylistic). Four hypotheses were formulated based on the existing literature, with two of them being fully supported and a third receiving limited support. Among the key results, adult respondents' interests in viewing telecasts of combative or stylistic sports differed significantly by gender. In addition, reported interest in watching coverage of violent combative sports was positively related to sensation seeking for both sexes. Meanwhile, interest in viewing stylistic sports on television was a negative function of the trait for females. The theoretical and applied implications of the results are discussed, along with directions for future research in this area.

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Eva Martin-Diener, Simon Foster, Meichun Mohler-Kuo, and Brian W. Martin


This study investigates the relationships between physical activity (PA), sports participation and sensation seeking or aggression and injury risk in young men.


A representative cohort study was conducted with 4686 conscripts for the Swiss army. Risk factors assessed at baseline were PA, the frequency of sports participation, sensation seeking, and aggression. The number of injuries during the past 12 months was reported 16 months after baseline. Exposure to moderate-tovigorous physical activity (MVPA) was estimated based on baseline PA.


Among conscripts, 48.5% reported at least 1 injury for the past 12 months. After accounting for exposure to MVPA, the most inactive individuals (reference group) had the highest injury risk and those with high levels of PA and weekly sports participation the lowest (Poisson regression analysis: incidence rate ratio = 0.14 [0.12–0.16]). Independent of activity level, sensation seeking increased cumulative injury incidence significantly (Logistic regression analysis [injured vs. not injured]: odds ratio = 1.29 [1.02–1.63]) and incidence rates marginally. Aggression was marginally associated only with cumulative injury incidence and only in those participating in daily sports.


When accounting for exposure to PA, being inactive is a strong injury risk factor in young men, whereas the roles of the personality variables are less clear.

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Megan M. Gardner, Jeff T. Grimm, and Bradley T. Conner

sensation-seeking, impulsivity, and injury has been shown in those who participate in extreme sports ( Gardner et al., 2020 ; Bouter et al., 1988 ). Current studies have shown that sensation-seeking, or the drive to experience novel and stimulating sensations, and experiences and the willingness to take

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Leighton Jones, Jasmin C. Hutchinson, and Elizabeth M. Mullin

. Previous research has indicated that these might include preference for, and tolerance of, exercise ( Ekkekakis, Hall, & Petruzzello, 2005 ) and traits from classic personality theories (e.g., extraversion and sensation seeking; Ekkekakis, Hargreaves, & Parfitt, 2013 ; Zuckerman, 1983 ). However, few

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Matthew Barlow, Tim Woodman, Caradog Chapman, Matthew Milton, Daniel Stone, Tom Dodds, and Ben Allen

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.

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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.

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Tim Woodman, Nicolas Cazenave, and Christine Le Scanff

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.