Sensation Seeking and Drug Use among High Risk Latino and Anglo Adolescents

Document Type



Community and Global Health (CGU)

Publication Date



Community Health | Medicine and Health Sciences | Mental and Social Health | Substance Abuse and Addiction


This study examines the relationship between sensation seeking and drug use in a sample of white and Latino southern California adolescents enrolled in continuation high schools. The 11 item sensation seeking portion of the Zuckerman Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire (version three; ZKPQIII) was used to measure sensation seeking. Sensation seeking was examined as a correlate of self reports of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, stimulants, and LSD use. The 11 item sensation seeking scale was found to have adequate reliability and to be positively associated with use of each of the drugs examined. The relationship between sensation seeking and drug use was found to vary across ethnic backgrounds. Among the white students sensation seeking was positively associated with drug use only among those with low to moderate scores on sensation seeking. Among the Latino students increased sensation seeking levels were consistently associated with increased drug use.

Rights Information

© 1994 Elsevier Ltd.