Is Sensation Seeking Linked Only to Personality Traits? The Role of Quality of Attachment in the Development of Sensation Seeking among Italian Adolescents: A Longitudinal Perspective

Ugo Pace, Carmela Madonia, Alessia Passanisi, Calogero Iacolino, Rosanna Di Maggio

Abstract


Considering sensation seeking as a personality trait has led to the driving of a series of studies on the biological and temperamental characteristics of sensation seekers. Conversely, from a bio-psychosocial perspective, personality factors are believed to account for about half of the likelihood that an individual will engage in disadaptive and dangerous actions, whereas environmental factors, such as primary relationships, interact with the person’s biology and affect the extent to which genetic factors exert their influence. On the light of these considerations, the present study explored the unique and common contributions of temperament and quality of attachment measured from 15 years old through the propensity of sensation seeking at 17 years old. The research involved 320 participant, from 14 to 16 years of age at wave 1, and 282 (16 to 18 years, 88% of the total sample) at wave 2. Data showed that negative affect at T1 emerged as a significant positive predictor of sensation seeking at T2. Moreover, dismissing attachment at T1 was positively related to thrill seeking at T2. Finally, dismissing attachment at T1 played a mediating role in the relationships between negative affect and lack of control and thrill seeking two years later. Starting from the results of the present study, treatment of adolescent in which sensation seeking may be seen as predictive of problematic behaviors may be based on the reorganization of the personal model of attachment.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2015.v6n2s1p260


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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