Changes in Emotional States Before and After Risk Taking in Scuba Diving

Abstract : The notion of risk-taking implies a cognitive process that determines the level of risk involved in a particular activity or task. This risk appraisal process gives rise to emotional responses, including anxious arousal and changes in mood, which may play a significant role in risk-related decision making. This study examines how emotional responses to the perceived risk of a scuba-diving injury contribute to divers' behavior, as well as the ways that risk taking or non-risk taking behavior, in turn, affects emotional states. The study sample consisted of 131 divers (risk takers and non-risk takers), who either had or had not been in a previous diving accident. Divers' emotional states were assessed immediately prior to diving, as well as immediately following a dive. Results indicated presence of subjective emotional experiences that are specific to whether a risk has been perceived and whether a risk has been taken. Important differences in emotion regulation were also found between divers who typically take risks and those who do not. Numerous factors contribute to the appraisal of risk and engagement in risk-taking behavior, including both individual and situation-specific variables. Emo-tional states associated with the perception of risk both before and after risk-taking behavior can influence the process of evaluating the risk, giving greater or lesser significance to individual and situation-specific variables. In addition, emotions may act as determinants of risk-taking behaviors (i.e., contributing to an individual's perception of risk), and at the same time, those who engage in risk-taking behaviors can undergo significant emotional changes, which can alter perception of risk after completion of the task. This study was designed to examine the way that these emotional states moderate both individual and situation-specific variables that contribute to risk perception and risk-taking behavior.
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Agnès Bonnet, Lydia Fernandez, Annie Piolat, Jean-Louis Pedinielli. Changes in Emotional States Before and After Risk Taking in Scuba Diving. Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology, Human Kinetics, 2008, 2 (1), pp.25-40. ⟨10.1123/jcsp.2.1.25⟩. ⟨hal-02345311⟩



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