Collegiate skydivers: Do they fear death?




Griffith, James D.
Hart, C. Lanier

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Individual Differences Association, Inc


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.


Article originally published in Journal of Worry and Affective Experience, 1(2), 71-76. English. Published online 2005.
Journal and publisher appear to be defunct and website is triggering malware warnings. Per Amanda Zerangue will deposit published version.


Risk-taking behavior, Civilian skydiving, Skydiving fatalities


This is the published version of an article that is available at: Recommended citation: Griffith, J. D., & Hart, C. L. (2005). Collegiate skydivers: Do they fear death? Journal of Worry and Affective Experience, 1(2), 71-76. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.