Happiness as a Reward for Torture: Is Participation in a Long-Distance Triathlon a Rational Choice?
This study applies prospect theory to an assessment of actual behavior. Loss aversion, reference dependence, and diminishing sensitivity are conceptualized through survey respondents’ perceptions of physical and mental torture during training for and competition in long-distance triathlons. Regression results show that frequent thoughts of giving up during the race negatively affect happiness after the race, while mental torture during training and race is negatively associated with happiness in the weeks after the race. Satisfaction with race outcome positively affects happiness, suggesting that achieving individual goals is more important than absolute performance in terms of finishing times and ranks.