The purpose of this paper is to identify psychosocial benefits that the race participants gained from participating in an adventure race (AR). The sample studied were participants of the Patagonian Expedition Race (PER), a multi-day AR that takes place in Chilean Patagonia.
Data were collected in the 2012 prior to, during, and after the event. Observations and semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven four-member teams. Video material and open-ended questionnaires from 2010 to 2012 editions of the event were analysed for validating the findings from the 2012 race study. Interview and observation data were analysed in four steps, including preparation phase (transcription of interviews), exploration phase (searching for themes), reduction phase, and interpretation. Notes from observations and other sources were added to the data during phase 2.
Six different types of psychosocial benefits of the PER participants emerged from the data analysis: the “flow” experience including immersion into the nature; the play state and changes between telic and para-telic meta-motivational states; exploration and tourist aspects; the creation of “communitas”, friendships, trust, and other social aspects; felt self-change; and the transferability of the benefits acquired to daily life.
The conclusions are limited by the sample size and the case study design. Hence, the study should be repeated in other adventure and expedition race settings and contrasted to studies in shorter ARs as well as in other types of small team sports.
The ARs gives opportunities for unique experiences of coping with nature in extreme conditions, thus developing personal insight and outdoor survival skills. The skills and personal development were applicable to everyday life. Moreover, similar races may be organized in different settings to provide varied options for athletes to participate in such races.
The benefits gained by the participants are considered useful for coping with demands in working life. This applied especially to enhanced self-insights, attitudes towards hindrances and obstacles, and teamwork skills. The race might be used as parts of training for leaders in organizations of all kinds.
To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first research paper applying the concept of psychosocial benefits when exploring the outcomes that athletes gain from their AR participation.
Mykletun, R. and Mazza, L. (2016), "Psychosocial benefits from participating in an adventure expedition race", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 6 No. 5, pp. 542-564. https://doi.org/10.1108/SBM-09-2016-0047Download as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited