Are perceived comparative risks realistic among high‐risk sports participants?

  • Martha Cécile
  • Laurendeau Jason

  • Base-jump
  • Risk perception
  • Comparative risk judgments


This paper examined how risk sports practitioners, compared with those of the average sports participant, perceive their abilities to manage risks (AMR) and their vulnerability to a serious injury (VSI) whilst participating. We also examined which variables influence perceived comparative VSI. High‐risk and moderate‐risk sports participants (n = 432) completed measures of perceived personal AMR, perceived comparative AMR and VSI, and motive of playing to the limit. Results showed that high‐risk sports practitioners perceived their VSI as being higher than the average sports participant, while moderate‐risk practitioners perceived their VSI as being lower. Perceived comparative VSI was negatively related to perceived personal AMR and positively related to past injury episode, sporting experience, and playing to the limit. In conclusion, perceived comparative risks were similarly realistic amongst high‐risk sports practitioners. Future research is needed to further examine the role that perceived comparative risks play in the risk‐taking decision‐making process