Sensation Seeking, Stress, and Adolescent Injuries: A Test of Stress-Buffering, Risk-Taking, and Coping Skills Hypotheses

  • Smith R
  • Ptacek J
  • Smoll F
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Abstract

The potential stress-buffering effects of sensation seeking were assessed in a prospective study involving high school athletes. A significant positive relation between major negative sport-specific life events and subsequent injury time-loss occurred only for athletes low in sensation seeking. No evidence was obtained for a competing hypothesis that high sensation seeking would constitute an injury vulnerability factor by increasing risk-taking behaviors. Although low sensation seekers reported poorer stress management coping skills, there was no evidence that differences in coping efficacy mediated the injury vulnerability difference. Results indicate that sensation seeking is a stress-resiliency factor and suggest the utility of assessing relations between life stressors and outcomes that occur within the same environmental context.

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Authors

  • Ronald E. Smith

  • J. T. Ptacek

  • Frank L. Smoll

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