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Climbing Research - 2013

Extreme sports are good for your health: A phenomenological understanding of fear and anxiety in extreme sport

Eric Brymer and Robert Schweitzer

Journal of Health Psychology 18:4, 477-487

Extreme sports are traditionally explored from a risk-taking perspective which often assumes that participants do not experience fear. In this article we explore participants’ experience of fear associated with participation in extreme sports. An interpretive phenomenological method was used with 15 participants. Four themes emerged: experience of fear, relationship to fear, management of fear, and fear and self-transformation. Participants’ experience of extreme sports was revealed in terms of intense fear but this fear was integrated and experienced as a potentially meaningful and constructive event in their lives. The findings have implications for understanding fear as a potentially transformative process.

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