The reliability and validity of the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS-8) with young adult Latino workers: implications for tobacco and alcohol disparity research


  • All authors have no conflicts of interests.

Michael T. Stephenson, Department of Communication, Texas A&M University, 4234 TAMU, 102 Bolton Hall, College Station, TX 77843-4234, USA. E-mail:


Aim  This study investigated the reliability and validity of the Brief Sensation Seeking Scale (BSSS-8) in both English and Spanish with Latinos, the fastest-growing minority group in the United States, and the correlation between sensation seeking and tobacco and alcohol use.

Design  Cross-sectional survey, computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI).

Setting  Dallas and Houston, Texas.

Participants  A total of 789 Latinos participated in this study. Participants were currently in the work-force, not enrolled in college, and between the ages of 18 and 30 years.

Measurements  Participants completed a self-report questionnaire (in either English or Spanish) consisting of items measuring tobacco and alcohol use as well as the eight-item Brief Sensation Seeking Scale.

Findings and conclusions  For English-speaking Latino participants, the BSSS factor structure was second-order unidimensional and correlated positively with life-time cigarette use, intention to smoke in the future and amount and frequency of alcohol consumption. For Spanish-speaking Latino participants, a four-subfactor solution for the BSSS provided the best fit to the data although correlations between the four subscales and cigarette use were small.