According to Linda Paquette, who is currently writing a PhD. thesis on the topic of Daredevils in the Department of Psychology at the Université de Montréal, “In a society where the vast majority of the population takes physical comfort for granted, staring death in the face provides an incomparable sensation.”
Daredevil attempts to survive Niagara Falls continue to modern day. There are many other stories even stories covered or sponsored by television media.
It does not matter if you are trying to cross Niagara falls in a barrel on doing crazy stunts on motorcycle or skis; daredevils love the element of danger.
Linda Paquette of the University of Montreal, PhD candidate, was the first person to do a thesis on why young people are daredevils. She concentrated on snowboarding and interviewed 685 people between the ages of 14 to 19 in Quebec City and the Laurentiennes to see why they loved to do dangerous tricks on the slopes.
Snowboarding is a very popular sport in Quebec and most people follow the rules, but there is about 10 percent of young people who love to live dangerously. According to Paquette’s research,30 percent of the subjects that that did extreme feats were done under the influence of marijuana at least once during a twelve month period. According to Paquette many of her subjects enjoyed the challenge and had themselves videotaped while doing it. There is a direct result of the media’s interest in revving up the hype of doing dangerous deeds. The media also portray the daredevils as being well rounded highly productive individuals. Paquette writes, “Far from seeing risk as a danger, he sees it as a challenge, an ordeal he evaluates carefully before embarking on it.”
She goes on to say, “Some people take risks to stimulate their self-esteem. For them, each challenge demonstrates the success they’re capable of achieving. For others, risk-taking is a way of avoiding problems. According to our data, those in the second group are more likely to consume psychotropic drugs, probably for the same reasons.”
Linda Paquette is working under the guidance of Psychology professor Jacques Bergeron, and Sociology professor Éric Lacourse. Her work is still in the data analysis stage, but she hopes to find similarities and differences between the two main themes that surface; achievement seekers, and problem-avoiders.