A recent discovery related to risk behavior is the finding that neurobiological development of impulse control in young people greatly lags that of cognitive evaluation of risk. This suggests that self‐control could be an important variable in risk perception. The goal of the present study is investigation of the relationship between self‐control and perceived physical risk to self in off‐road motorcycling.
Consistent with the age range in which the developmental lag between impulse control and cognitive evaluation of risk occurs, a sample of subjects aged 18‐24 was chosen. All respondents reported at least some experience in off‐road motorcycling. Subjects filled‐out paper and pencil questionnaires addressing perceived physical risk to themselves, level of experience in the sport, relative skill, expected fun, level of self‐control, and estimated risk for an average other participant in dirt‐biking.
Self‐control exhibited a significant, inverse correlation with perceived risk to self, and this variable had a significant negative regression coefficient in multiple regression predicting risk to self. Also, self‐control was found to have little correlation to other predicting variables, suggesting that it exerts a relatively unique influence on risk to self.
Data were not collected within a field setting and respondents did not experience the vibrancy of emotions of the live sport or the social influence of other bikers. This may have diminished the effects of these factors on perceived risk.
A non‐significant correlation was found for skill and perceived risk to self, suggesting that prospective participants in the sport might not let their initial lack of skill deter them from the activity. Additionally, expected fun increased with increasing experience, suggesting that participants are self‐motivated to repeat the activity.
Self‐control has received no apparent attention as a factor influencing perceived risk in sport. Findings from the present study suggest that this variable has a strong influence, at least in young people.
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