Abstract

The relationship between sensation seeking and a number of health behaviours was studied using a Norwegian 18-item version of the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS), which was included in a postal survey of a nationwide sample of 3000 Norwegian adolescents aged 17–19 years, out of whom 1841 responded yielding a response rate of 62.8%. In both sexes sensation seeking was associated with coital experience, number of sex partners and experience of casual sex. However, sensation seeking was not associated with contraception use as measured in terms of observations of single acts on single occasions. Sensation seeking was significantly associated with smoking and alcohol behaviour. The empirical data appear to support the construct validity of the sensation seeking trait by confirming the expected associations between the trait and certain health behaviours in a Norwegian setting. Furthermore, these expected associations were revealed using an 18-item SSS instrument only, which appears to demonstrate the adequacy of a short SSS instrument, being preferable in many survey settings.

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