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    An Exploratory Study of Extreme Sport Athletes’ Nature Interactions: From Well-Being to Pro-environmental Behavior

    Mac Intyre, Tadhg and Walkin, Andree M. and Beckmann, Juergen and Calogiuri, Giovanna and Gritzka, Susan and Oliver, Greig and Donnelly, Aoife A. and Warrington, Giles (2019) An Exploratory Study of Extreme Sport Athletes’ Nature Interactions: From Well-Being to Pro-environmental Behavior. Frontiers in Psychology, 10 (1233). ISSN 1664-1078

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    Traditionally, perceptions about extreme sport athletes being disconnected from nature and a risk-taking population have permeated the research literature. Drawing upon theoretical perspectives from environmental, sport, organizational and positive psychology, this qualitative study attempts to explore the lived experiences of four male and four female extreme sport athletes. The purpose of this study was to gain insight and understanding into the individuals’ attitudes toward the benefits of extreme sport activities for well-being, resilience and pro-environmental behavior. Eight participants (Mean age = 40.5 years; SD = ± 12.9) provided written informed consent to partake in semi-structured interviews. Each athlete provided written consented to allow the publication of their identifiable data and in order to facilitate sharing of their autobiographical account of their experiences. After conducting thematic analysis, meta-themes that emerged from the analyses were as follows: (a) early childhood experiences, (b) the challenge of the outdoors, (c) their emotional response to nature, (d) nature for coping, (e) restorative spaces, and (f) environmental concern. The findings convey great commonalities across the participants with regard to their mindset, their emotional well-being as well as their connectivity with nature and attitudes toward the natural environment. The cognitive-affective-social-behavioral linkage of the benefits of extreme sport participation for well-being, psychological recovery and pro-environmental behavior are highlighted. This study examining the lived experiences of extreme sportspeople provides a novel contribution to our contemporary understanding of extreme athletes’ relationship to nature and its commensurate impact upon well-being and pro-environmental attitudes. The findings suggest that extreme sport participation, while inherently risky has psychological benefits ranging from evoking positive emotions, developing resilience and life coping skills to cultivating strong affinity to and connection with nature and the natural environment.

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: © 2019 MacIntyre, Walkin, Beckmann, Calogiuri, Gritzka, Oliver, Donnelly and Warrington. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) . Cite as: MacIntyre TE, Walkin AM, Beckmann J, Calogiuri G, Gritzka S, Oliver G, Donnelly AA and Warrington G (2019) An Exploratory Study of Extreme Sport Athletes’ Nature Interactions: From Well-Being to Pro-environmental Behavior. Front. Psychol. 10:1233. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01233
    Keywords: nature connectedness; extreme sport; well-being; resilience; green exercise; blue exercise; restorative space; emotion – mood;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 15070
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Tadhg Mac Intyre
    Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2021 15:53
    Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Psychology
    Publisher: Frontiers Media
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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