Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Recreation and Sport Management

Major Professor

Jim Bemiller

Committee Members

Lars Dzikus, Rebecca Zakrajsek


Whitewater kayaking is an adventure sport that has been continuously growing in popularity (Brymer, 2010). A better understanding of the risk involved could assist programmers, marketers, and decision makers in the future. This study explores sensation seeking in experienced whitewater kayakers. Demographic variables such as age, sex and skill level are studied to make conclusions about risk perception. Kayakers were recruited nation-wide via social media to participate in a survey involving sensation-seeking and demographic questions. The study consisted of 409 participants who completed the self-identifying survey. Past sensation-seeking literature pertaining to adventure sports suggests that there is a correlation between the sensation-seeking trait and risk taking. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that younger experienced kayakers score higher on the sensation-seeking scale and older experienced kayakers. Using SPSS data analysis software, it was discovered that 60.25 percent of respondents scored as high sensation seekers. Of the four subscales within the sensation-seeking scale, the thrill and adventure seeking subscale had the highest scores of 78% sensation seeking. Also, perception of ability and preference of rapid class results indicate that respondents of this study often paddle at or one class above their perceived ability level while whitewater kayaking.

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