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‘If you’re a bit of a risk-taker you don’t see the dangers’: Exploring Gender Differences in Leisure Sport Risk-taking

Eade, Vincent William (2021) ‘If you’re a bit of a risk-taker you don’t see the dangers’: Exploring Gender Differences in Leisure Sport Risk-taking. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

The popular leisure sports of skiing, horseriding and motorcycling carry considerable risks to health, or even life, to those engaging in these activities; consequently, they have been largely dominated by men whom our culture encourages to take risks. The risky leisure sports of skiing, horseriding and motorcycling have attracted little prior research attention from social scientists. Evidence suggesting that women dominate in the participation of statistically much riskier leisure horse riding has motivated a sociological study. A mixed methods design, based on semi-structured interviews and a self completion questionnaire survey with adult male and female British skiers, horse riders and motorcyclists, provide analysis of three themes. Belonging, risk and wellbeing are examined phenomenologically through a realist social constructionist lens to determine what and how personal needs are fulfilled through practising their particular sport. The research questions running throughout the thesis are: What factors explain the participation and engagement of participants in risky leisure sports? Does gender account for any different experiences between male and female participants? Why do people engage in risky leisure sports and what do they get out of it? Findings indicate that, contrary to its inherently risky nature, men and particularly women within and across all three sports feel increased self-confidence and enhanced global self-esteem when performing their sport, which often positively influences their everyday lives. Furthermore, participants attain similar feelings of ‘being-in-the-moment’ a state usually attributable to much riskier so-called ‘adrenaline’ sports and a central feature of mindfulness and positive mental health. Finally, I include a brief analysis into the impact of COVID-19 as a new risk factor for the participants of these sports. Key words: risk sports, motorcycling, horseriding, skiing, belonging, wellbeing

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Risk-sports, motorcycling, horseriding, skiing, belonging, wellbeing
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Vince Eade
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 08:07
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2021 08:07
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30870

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