Effect of variation in perceived risk on the secretion of endorphin Academic Article uri icon


  • It is currently unknown why individuals opt to participate in risk taking as a form of recreation. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that -endorphin, a naturally produced opiatelike peptide, is secreted in response to a perception of risk, thereby reinforcing risk-taking behaviors. A 2 2 factorial design (Time Perceived Risk) with repeated measures across both factors was used. The two levels of time were pre-and postexposure to a particular level of perceived risk. The two levels of perceived risk were high and low. Perceived risk was operationalized through the use of ropes course events of similar design but differing in exposure to height. The dependent variable was level of plasma -endorphin. Exploratory analyses of subjective arousal, pleasure, and desire to repeat were also undertaken. Results indicated that plasma -endorphin and arousal were significantly increased in the high perceived-risk condition. A Time Risk interaction was identified for subjective pleasure. Although the means were in the hypothesized direction, no significant difference was found between low- and high-risk conditions for desire to repeat the experience. 1996 Taylor and Francis.

published proceedings

  • Leisure Sciences

author list (cited authors)

  • Jones, R. A., & Ellis, G. D.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Jones, Robert A||Ellis, Gary D

publication date

  • January 1996