Collegiate skydivers: Do they fear death?
Skydiving is considered to be among the most dangerous sporting activities in the world. Each time a skydiver exits an aircraft, they essentially face death. Although there is a relatively high risk of death compared to other sports, a large number of individuals participate in this activity in a recreational capacity. The present study compared 54 collegiate skydivers (high-risk) and 54 college students who never made a skydive (low-risk) on death anxiety. Death anxiety was measured using the Collett-Lester Fear of Death Scale (Lester & Abdel-Khalek, 2003). The analyses revealed that skydivers had lower levels of death anxiety on three of the four dimensions. This finding is in opposition of studies that have found that individuals working in death-risk occupations (e.g., police officer, firefighter) had higher death anxiety scores compared to control groups. Possible explanations for these divergent findings include the extent to which individuals have personal control over death-risk situations and self-esteem enhancement.
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