Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS)

Assesses the personality traits of thrill and adventure seeking, disinhibition, experience seeking, and susceptibility to boredom.


The Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) was originally published in 1964 as a measure of sensation seeking that encompasses and evaluates an individual’s personality traits of thrill and adventure seeking, disinhibition, experience seeking, and susceptibility to boredom.

It can be used as a measure of risk preference and comes in an easy to complete format of 40 questions with 2 answer choices each.


Score 1 point if answer is A Score 1 point if answer is B
1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 14, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 32, 34, 36, 39 2, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 19, 20, 21, 25, 26, 27, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37
  • Boredom Susceptibility Subscale: 2, 5, 7, 8, 15, 24, 27, 31, 34, 39.
  • Disinhibition Subscale: 1, 12, 13, 25, 29, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36.
  • Experience Seeking Subscale: 4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19, 22, 26, 37.
  • Thrill and Adventure Seeking: 3, 11, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23, 28, 38, 40.

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1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

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Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) Explained

The Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS) was originally published in 1964 as a measure of sensation seeking that encompasses and evaluates an individual’s personality traits of thrill and adventure seeking, disinhibition, experience seeking, and susceptibility to boredom.

The SSS can be used as a measure of risk preference and comes in an easy to complete self-administrable format of 40 questions with 2 answer choices each.

The table below summarizes and exemplifies the four subscales of the SSS (each with 10 items):

SSS subscale Description SSS allocated items Positive answer choices
Boredom Susceptibility (BS) aversion to repetition, routine, and dull people 2, 5, 7, 8, 15, 24, 27, 31, 34, 39 I get bored seeing the same old faces.
I prefer friends who are excitingly unpredictable.
Disinhibition (Dis) desire for social and sexual disinhibition 1, 12, 13, 25, 29, 30, 32, 33, 35, 36 I like “wild” uninhibited parties.
I like to have new and exciting experiences and sensations even if they are a little frightening, unconventional, or illegal.
Experience Seeking (ES) pursuit of an unconventional lifestyle via unplanned activities and/or hallucinatory drugs 4, 6, 9, 10, 14, 18, 19, 22, 26, 37 I like to try new foods that I have never tasted before.
I would like to try some of the new drugs that produce hallucinations.
Thrill and Adventure Seeking (TAS) desire to engage in sports or activities involving speed and danger 3, 11, 16, 17, 20, 21, 23, 28, 38, 40 I would like to learn to fly an airplane.
I would like to sail a long distance in a small but seaworthy sailing craft.

Further from the original SSS, there have been several iterations of the scale, for example form III with 113 items. In 1993 the scale was modified for use in children. Currently a fifth version (V) of the adult SSS is in use.

 

References

Original reference

Zuckerman M, Kolin EA, Price L, Zoob I. Development of a sensation-seeking scale. Journal of Consulting Psychology. 1964; 28(6), 477–482.

Zuckerman M, Eysenck S, Eysenck HJ. Sensation seeking in England and America: cross-cultural, age, and sex comparisons. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1978; 46(1):139-149.

Other references

Bratko D, Butkovic A. Family study of sensation seeking. Personality and Individual Differences. 2003; 35(7), 1559-1570.

Deditius-Island HK, Caruso JC. An examination of the reliability of scores from Zuckerman's Sensation Seeking Scales, Form V. Educational and Psychological Measurement. 2002; 62(4), 728-734.

Gray JM, Wilson MA. A detailed analysis of the reliability and validity of the Sensation Seeking Scale in a UK sample. Personality and Individual Differences. 2007; 42(4), 641-651.

Zuckerman M. The Sensation Seeking Scale V (SSS-V): Still reliable and valid. Personality and Individual Differences. 2007; 43(5), 1303-1305.


Specialty: Psychiatry

Objective: Assessment

Year Of Study: 1964

Abbreviation: SSS

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: July 24, 2020

Last Checked: July 24, 2020

Next Review: July 24, 2025