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Ski helmet use closely associated with risk taking

According to a paper in the journal Wilderness & Environmental Medicine, for males under 35 years of age, the wearing of a helmet when skiing is one of the factors that lead to risk-taking on the slopes.

The male occasional helmet wearers were found to be the most prone to risky behavior. In female nonhelmet wearers, there was a significant decrease in risk-taking behavior with age but this was not true for female helmet wearers.

However, a major shortcoming of this study is that it relied on expressed attitude rather than observed behavior. Data was collected using a survey comprising multiplle-choice questions. The subjects were asked to choose answers most suitable for their skiing style and preferred skiing technique, volume of off-piste skiing, readiness to use time measuring systems on the slopes, and group-skiing preferences, such as leading the group, beside the group, away from the group, etc.

This type of study design is notoriously unreliable, as has been found with many relating to cycle helmets.

Tue 13 Dec 2011

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