An Examination of Sensation Seeking Tendencies among Boulderers


  • Eric Frauman Appalachian State University
  • Brian Clevenger Appalachian State University


According to Llewellyn and Sanchez (2008), the study of risk taking has become virtually synonymous with  sensation  seeking  theory and while some research has examined the sport of rock climbing from a sensation seeking standpoint there is no research that has exclusively examined boulderers from this perspective. Thereby, the primary purpose of this research was established. Data was collected in early 2009 adjacent to an indoor climbing wall where purposively selected subjects were asked to complete an online survey. The survey consisted of a sensation seeking scale (SSS Form V; Zuckerman, 1994) and a number of variables related to bouldering (e.g., perceived bouldering ability). Overall, the sample was not easily “susceptible to  boredom”,  scoring much higher on “thrill and adventure seeking” and “experience seeking.” While no statistically significant differences or relationships were found, the results did provide insight into how sensation seeking ten- dencies relate to bouldering characteristics (e.g., perception of ability, experience). Continued efforts should be made to better understand boulderers and their psychological  makeup  as  climbing  advocacy groups and organizations (e.g., coalitions, college outdoor programs) might find this type of information helpful for both marketing and management purposes.