Reliability and validity of a brief measure of sensation seeking Academic Article uri icon


  • We developed a self-report measure of sensation seeking, a dispositional risk factor for various problem behaviors. In two studies, we administered the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS) to more than 7000 adolescents. Study 1 participants completed a paper-and-pencil form of the BSSS in mass-testing sessions. Psychometric analyses of the resultant data revealed suitable item characteristics and internal consistency of responses to the items across age (13-17 years), sex, and ethnic categories. Study 2 participants, who completed the BSSS individually in an interview format, also provided data on their perceptions of and experiences with licit and illicit drugs as well as a series of additional risk and protective factors. Scores on the full BSSS correlated inversely with negative attitudes toward drug use and positively with drug use; sensation seeking as measured by the BSSS was a particularly strong predictor of the intention to try marijuana in the future. BSSS scores were reliably and predictably associated with other risk and protective factors. © 2002 Published by Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Hoyle, R. H., Stephenson, M. T., Palmgreen, P., Lorch, E. P., & Donohew, R. L.

citation count

  • 711

publication date

  • February 2002