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Research Reviews

Understanding Action and Adventure Sports Participation – An Ecological Dynamics Perspective

Immonen, E. Brymer, D. Orth, K. Davids, F. Feletti, J. Liukkonen, and T. Jaakkolau

The Big Idea

Imagine this.  You are a BASE jumper.  You cheerfully fling yourself with parachute off fixed towering objects like buildings, antennas, bridges, or cliffs.  After a jump, maybe you rightly find yourself in a local pub.  Your avocation becomes a conversation starter among the bar flies.  One gaggle is sure you are a nut-case, clearly pathological in your desperate need for thrills, excitement, and risk-taking.  The other flock raves about your jumping as clearly autonomous, competence-based—a source of self-reliance, life-enhancement, and meaning.  So, which is it?

Turning to the existing research on action and adventure sports (AAS) for an answer to this question is disappointing.  For when you sort through the published papers on AAS there is little consistency on even the definitions and terms used between the studies.  Without common ground on what constitutes a framework for serious study of AAS, researchers will do little better explaining the ins and outs of AAS than the spirited pub participants.

This opinion paper makes a...

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