Living on the edge: Sensation seeking and extreme sports participation

Date of Completion

January 2003


Psychology, Social|Recreation




Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) was administered to 842 participants via an on-line platform. Three hundred and nine of the study participants were pre-identified as current participants in rock climbing, snowboarding, SCUBA diving, auto racing, white water rafting, or motocross. The remaining sample consisted of two control groups, comprised of individuals who have never engaged in any extreme sport. All participants were selected from a general population panel of participants. The SSS was administered electronically via the World Wide Web (WWW) using cutting edge research technology provided by Knowledge Networks, a Silicon Valley research company. Comparisons between the extreme sports group and the two control groups were made, and significant differences emerged between the groups on measures of sensation seeking, as well as on measures of other high-risk behaviors, such as usage of tobacco products, gambling, and unsafe driving behaviors. Results indicate that extreme sports participants are significantly more likely then non-extreme sports participants to score higher on measures of sensation seeking, and are also more likely than non-extreme sports participants to engage in other high-risk activities such as unsafe driving. Overall, extreme sports participants demonstrate a need for trying novel, high-risk activities. ^