The relationship between sensation seeking and delinquency: A longitudinal analysis

Helene Raskin White, Erich W. Labouvie, Marsha E. Bates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A sample of 584 male and female adolescents were studied at two points in time to determine the relationship between self-reported delinquency and sensation seeking. Analyses of variance and covariance were used to test the effect of delinquency status and frequency of minor delinquent activity on sensation seeking at Time 1 and on changes in sensation seeking from Time 1 to Time 2. The results indicated that delinquency and sensation seeking are related in adolescence regardless of sex; those adolescents who are delinquent score significantly higher on the Disinhibition scale. This finding was not obtained for experience seeking. One implication of the findings is that rates of minor delinquency could be lowered by providing high sensation seekers with socially approved opportunities for meeting their sensation-seeking needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-211
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology


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