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Risk-Taking Behaviour and Criminal Offending: An Investigation of Sensation Seeking and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire

NCJ Number
International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 46 Issue: 5 Dated: October 2002 Pages: 586-602
Sonja Knust; Anna L. Stewart
Date Published
October 2002
17 pages
This study investigated the relationship between Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking theory and Eysenck and Eysenck’s Personality theory.
The goal of this study was to compare two of the most popular theories of personality, those of Zuckerman, which explores issues of sensation seeking, and Eysenck and Eysenck’s, which detail more general personality issues. The authors were interested in relating these theories to hostility. In order to explore how these theories relate to each other and to issues of hostility, the authors enlisted 92 male offenders who were incarcerated in 2 Southeast Queensland prisons to complete 3 measures of personality. Each participant completed Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking Scale, Eysenck and Eysenck’s Personality Questionnaire, and the Buss-Durkee Hostility Inventory. Results of statistical analysis of these questionnaires revealed that there were several significant correlations within and between the two personality measures, which supports the authors’ suggestion that the two measures be reformulated. More specifically, the authors found a clear distinction between socialized and unsocialized forms of sensation seeking. The authors also found that the findings related to hostility further supported the notion that the two personality scales should be reformulated to better explain overarching personality factors. In conclusion, the authors contend that a theoretical reformulation of Zuckerman’s Sensation Seeking theory and Eysenck and Eysenck’s Personality theory is justified in order to more clearly characterize personality traits. They also suggest that their results have implications for offender rehabilitation programs that focus on hostility and aggression. Tables, notes, references


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