Sensation seeking and drinking game participation in heavy-drinking college students

Academic Article


  • Previous research has identified differences between heavy-drinking students who play drinking games and those who do not. Johnson, Wendel, and Hamilton (1998) suggested that heavy-drinking players may correspond to Cloninger's (Cloninger, 1987) Type II alcoholic and that heavy-drinking nonplayers resemble Type I. The current study predicted that (a) sensation seeking would be associated with greater frequency of play and greater frequency of negative consequences from play and that (b) heavy-drinking students who play drinking games would be higher in sensation seeking than heavy-drinking students who do not play. A sample of 172 female and 84 male college students completed the Sensation Seeking Scale Form V, questions about quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption, and questions regarding drinking game participation. Higher levels of sensation seeking predicted greater frequency of play even after controlling for overall quantity and frequency of consumption. Sensation seeking was also related to specific motives for play. Men who were higher in sensation seeking experienced more negative alcohol-related consequences as a result of play. In women, but not in men, heavy-drinking players were higher in sensation seeking than heavy-nondrinking nonplayers. The results of the current study do not clearly support Cloninger's model, but they are consistent with other research concerning the role of sensation seeking and risk taking in contributing to negative alcohol-related consequences. Personality style likely interacts with social norms and contextual factors in influencing drinking game participation and consequences of play. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Johnson TJ; Cropsey KL
  • Start Page

  • 109
  • End Page

  • 116
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 1