University of Sussex
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Motivations for mountain climbing: the role of risk

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posted on 2023-06-07, 15:55 authored by Nina LockwoodNina Lockwood
Using people actively involved in mountain climbing, this thesis explores people's motivations to participate in mountain climbing, an activity frequently characterised in terms of risk. Moreover, using a variety of both quantitative and qualitative methods the assessment of the role of risk as a motivation for mountain climbing is central to the thesis. The first study (N = 232) employed a theory of planned behaviour framework that incorporated beliefs about risk, together with other behavioural beliefs, as a means to investigate the motivations of mountain climbers. Although risk emerged as significant positive predictor of attitudes towards mountain climbing, it was the weakest of the four predictor variables. Study Two (N = 207) presents a psychometric analysis which mapped perceptions of eight types of climbing onto a three component (Challenge, Risk, and Enjoyment) representation of the characteristics associated with mountain climbing. The position of each type of climbing revealed some clear differences between these types in relation to each of the three dimensions. The results presented provide a useful insight into which particular types of climbing should be studied further to build upon the current understanding of the role and importance of risk to participation in mountain climbing. Study Three (N = 205) used a laddering methodology in order to identify the hierarchical relationship between motives reported by climbers who participate in three types of climbing. Individual cognitive maps were created for each type of mountain climbing. Inspection of both the cognitive maps and indices designed to reflect the importance of individual motives seem to suggest that the importance of risk to people's participation may be less than originally thought. Study Four (N = 37) was an on-line qualitative study which addressed mountain climbers? views concerning the popular yet controversial opinion that climbers are motivated by risk. Overall, risk appeared to acquire motivational status as a result of its instrumental relationship with other factors explicitly labelled as motivations for mountain climbing. Together, these findings suggest that, while risk occupies an important position within people's motivations to participate in mountain climbing, it is not risk per se that is key to people?s participation. Moreover, the results presented hint at risk acting as a facilitator, something necessary to the fulfilment of other important motivations for mountain climbing.


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