Dangerous sports and recreational drug-use: Rationalizing and contextualizing risk

Michael Larkin*, Mark D. Griffiths

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article reports upon the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) of a small number of semi-structured interviews, conducted with persons engaging in either recreational drug-use (primarily identified here as Ecstasy-users) or dangerous sports (primarily identified here as bungee-jumpers). Our analysis focuses upon the manner in which these participants make sense of their initiation and maintenance experiences, and the means by which they understand and make sense of risk. In particular, we draw attention to the distinctions between our participants' rational and contextual reconstructions of risky decisions. These distinctions indicate that our participants are able to draw upon a complex cultural and relational understanding of risk and pleasure, and are thus able to deal quite effectively with the contradictory experience of taking 'non-volitional' action. This exploration of persons' strategies for displacing agency in relation to potentially negative outcomes may have implications for research and practice in related areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-232
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date28 Jun 2004
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004


  • Addiction
  • Ecstasy
  • Extreme sports
  • Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA)
  • Qualitative
  • Risky-but-rewarding activities
  • Substance use


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