Types of extreme sports
Kupciw & MacGregor (2012) define high-risk sports as activities that imply a possibility of injury or death, and in order to minimize the risks associated with the sport, specialized equipment is often needed.
A number of extreme sports have become increasingly popular and accepted by the general population of Western societies. In 1979, Zuckerman defined sensation seeking as:
“The need for varied, novel and complex sensations and experiences, and the willingness to take physical and social risks for the sake of such experience.” (p. 28).
There has been a tendency to view all extreme sports participants as thrill seekers, but when we investigate it more closely, two types of risk-takers appear:
- The ones who deliberately take risks and put themselves in situations where failures are likely to be fatal
- The ones who are more precautionary so that they minimize the risks of their sport
A precautionary approach is associated with fewer accidents, which means that danger in itself does not lead to accidents. Therefore, people who do extreme sports are not all deliberate risk-takers. It is more likely that people seek risks to achieve a sense of control – so it is not the risk itself that is attractive.
also propose that risk-taking behaviors are the fundamental driving force between discoveries and scientific development, and therefore, risk-taking behaviors are in our human nature.
A new study by used a typological approach to personality and risk-taking behaviors, e.g. mountaineering, rock climbing, and skydiving.
A typological approach assumes that different personality types are associated with specific behaviors (e.g., risk-taking). If you need to read up on personality types, go to