The Feelings of Extreme Risk: Exploring Emotional Quality and Variability in Skydiving and BASE Jumping

The quality and intensity of emotional experiences are important motivators for extreme sport, but surprising little is known scientifically about the feelings of leisure activities that involve high risks. In the current study the emotions of 13 BASE-jumpers and 18 skydivers were measured during and immediately after a jump, and again 24 hour later, during and immediately after watching a film of themselves jumping. Verbal reports, visual reports and heart rate measures were collected. Results showed that feelings like engagement and interest varied more between the jump, the film and a neutral baseline condition, as compared with feelings of pleasure and happiness. During the jump, however, participants experienced huge variation in pleasure, but relatively stable levels of interest. The findings further suggest that extreme sport episodes produce both very intense and very heterogeneous feeling states with a clear distinction between otherwise relatively similar feelings. The results are discussed with reference to so-called eudaimonic and hedonic feeling states, to memory bias, and to the issue of reliability in self-reported emotions during high levels of arousal.

© Journal of Sport Behavior Jun 2012. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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