Sensation Seeking Predicting Growth in Adolescent Problem Behaviors

Gayle R. Byck, Gregory Swann, Benjamin Schalet, John Bolland, Brian Mustanski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is limited literature on the relationship between sensation seeking and adolescent risk behaviors, particularly among African Americans. We tested the association between psychometrically-derived subscales of the Zuckerman Sensation Seeking Scale and the intercepts and slopes of individual growth curves of conduct problems, sexual risk taking, and substance use from ages 13 to 18 years by sex. Boys and girls had different associations between sensation seeking and baseline levels and growth of risk behaviors. The Pleasure Seeking scale was associated with baseline levels of conduct problems in boys and girls, baseline substance use in boys, and growth in sexual risk taking and substance use by girls. Girls had the same pattern of associations with the Danger/Novelty scale as the Pleasure Seeking scale. Knowledge about the relationships between adolescent risk taking and sensation seeking can help in the targeted design of prevention and intervention programs for the understudied population of very low-income, African American adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)466-473
Number of pages8
JournalChild psychiatry and human development
Volume46
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 12 2014

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • African Americans
  • Conduct problems
  • Sensation seeking
  • Sexual risk taking
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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