Sporting events are among the most popular leisure activities; however, there are inherent risks of serious injury or death associated with these activities. Prior to developing a risk management plan, it is important to clearly understand the perception of risk among laypeople. Such understanding will substantially improve communication between professionals and participants, resulting in the emergence of a better risk management plan. Despite the evident benefits of such communication, there are few studies directly addressing the perception of risk in the field of sport management.
The purpose of this study is to identify how people perceive risk in sport activities, by applying the psychometric paradigm and then, more specifically, identifying the factors affecting perception of risk in football. The sample for this study consisted of 256 collegiate students and a convenient, non-probability sampling method was used. To achieve the purpose of this study, two appropriate statistical methods were employed, SPSS for the psychometric paradigm and AMOS (SEM) for factors affecting perception of risk in football.
The results of this bifurcated study indicate that rock climbing and motorcycling were perceived as the most risky among the selected sports, followed by snow skiing, jet skiing, and skin/scuba diving. Aerobics and jogging/running were perceived as the least risky among the selected sports. In applying the psychometric paradigm, six risk characteristics were used, divided by the two factors of “fatality” and “known.” The “fatality” factor was associated with the characteristics of chronic/catastrophic, common/dread, severity of consequences and control over risk; the “known” factor was associated with the characteristics of voluntariness and knowledge about risk. The “fatality” factor appeared in relation to high-risk sport activities, such as rock climbing, snow skiing, jet skiing, motorcycling, and skin/scuba diving. Sport activities perceived as less risky, including jogging/running, swimming, aerobics, tennis, racquetball and weight training, appear in relation to the “known” factor. Structure Equation Modeling (SEM) was used in that part of the study devoted to identifying factors affecting perception of risk in football, revealing both exogenous (knowledge, experience, perceived risk characteristic, and trust) and endogenous (perceived benefit and perception of risk in football) variables. The structure model illustrated that the paths of knowledge and experience to risk perception in football were not statistically significant. The paths of risk characteristic, trust and perceived benefit to perception of risk were statistically significant. The path of trust to perceived benefit was also significant and a new path, experience to perceived benefit, was identified as statistically significant.