Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The motives for participation in high-risk sport
Author: Barlow, Matthew
Awarding Body: Prifysgol Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Research pertaining to the motives for participation in high-risk sport has typically been based on Zuckerman's sensation seeking theory (for a review see Zuckerman 2007). From this stand-point, high-risk sport participants are a considered a homogenous group who participate for the "sensation rewards" of their high-risk activity (Zuckerman, 2007, p. 13). The present thesis provides evidence that comprehensively challenges that view. Many high-risk sports do appear to involve a large element of thrill, excitement, and a plethora of potentially pleasurable sensations. For example, skydiving appears to typify highrisk activities that elicit an intense hedonic experience while participating (Celsi, Rose, & Leigh, 1993; Lipscombe, 1999). However, participation in prolonged engagement high-risk sport, such expeditionary mountaineering (Lester, 1983, 2004), seems to reflect an experience that is antonymous to sensation seeking; individuals engaged in these activities undergo hardship, suffering, and monotony on a daily basis (Loewenstein, 1999). Based on the foundational work of Lester (1983, 2004), Woodman, Hardy, Barlow & Le Scanff(2010) identified that emotion regulation and agency may be key constructs underpinning the motives driving participation in mountaineering. Emotion regulation is the term used to characterize the diverse processes involved in initiating, maintaining, and modulating the intensity, type, or duration of emotions (Gross & Thompson, 2007). To be an agent is to influence intentionally one's functioning and life circumstances. An agentic self presumes active and causal contributions to behaviour and development: the self is the author of internal states such as intent, belief, and desire (Bandura, 2006). Chapter 1 introduces and develops the foundational theoretical rationale on which the present research is based. Chapter 2 develops and confirms the structure of a three-factor measure of the motives that underlie participation in high-risk sports across three time points (between, during, and after participating in the activity): the Sensation seeking, Emotion regulation and Agency Scale (SEAS; Study 1 and Study 2). The SEAS is then used to provide evidence for the differential motives for skydiving and mountaineering: the motive for skydiving is strongly associated with sensation seeking; the motive for mountaineering is strongly associated with emotion regulation and agency, not with sensation seeking (Study 3 and Study 4). Results confirm that mountaineers have a perceived difficulty with emotion regulation and agency in everyday life, but importantly also have a greater expectation about what it means to be successful in emotion regulation and agency terms. It is these greater expectations that most successfully discriminate mountaineers from skydivers and control participants (Study 4). Chapter 3 addresses three specific questions that arise from Chapter 2. Firstly, to what extent do mountaineers display a counter-phobic attitude? Secondly, do mountaineers exhibit generic exaggerated expectancies, of how life ought to be, across all important domains and aspects of everyday life? Thirdly, to what extent do mountaineers experience a romantic attachment to the mountains? A novel qualitative mixed-model approach is employed. Semi-structured in-depth interviews with five of Britain's best expeditionary mountaineers are combined with an abstraction of the mountaineering media (books, interviews, films, etc.). Results include extended raw quotes from mountaineers with the aim that the data may speak for itself and that the voices of the participants' would be heard (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000). Results from the present thesis suggest that researchers should no longer consider participants of expeditionary high-risk activities as a homogenous sensation seeking group. Furthermore, mountaineering may provide participants with a means of attaining their exaggerated expectancies (of agency and emotion regulation) in a way that is perceived as not readily available to them in everyday life.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available