Social Context, Sensation Seeking, and Teen‐age Alcohol Abuse

Dennis L. Thombs, Kenneth H. Beck, Colleen A. Mahoney, Michael D. Bromley, Karen M. Bezon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT: An anonymous questionnaire was administered to more than 1,200 seventh to 12th grade students in four rural public schools in western New York State. The questionnaire measured alcohol use, the social contexts of drinking, and the personality trait known as “sensation seeking.” A majority (57%) were drinkers, and discriminant function analyses were performed on their scores on these measures to determine if they could distinguish between different levels of alcohol use intensity, alcohol‐impaired driving, and riding with an impaired driver. Results indicated social context measures were effective in distinguishing among levels on each indicant of abuse. In particular, high‐intensity drinkers, impaired drivers, and riders of impaired drivers were more likely to drink in a context of social facilitation, stress control, and defiance of school and adult authority. The drinking context of peer acceptance was important only in distinguishing teen‐agers who ride with drunk drivers from those who do not. Overall, the sensation seeking trait was of moderate importance in distinguishing among different alcohol abuse practices. Implications of these findings for assessment as well as school‐based prevention programs are discussed. 1994 American School Health Association

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-79
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1994


Dive into the research topics of 'Social Context, Sensation Seeking, and Teen‐age Alcohol Abuse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this