Sensation seeking, message sensation value and sexual risk taking: Implications for teen pregnancy prevention campaigns
This study evaluated the relationship between the personality trait sensation seeking and sexual risk taking behaviors. It aimed to determine whether high sensation seekers prefer poster presentations that differ in message sensation value (MSV). The goal was to inform the design and evaluation of sex education and teen pregnancy prevention campaigns. A random sample of 151 undergraduate students from a Midwestern university was surveyed to evaluate young people's sensation seeking tendencies and risky sexual behaviors. The respondents were exposed to two posters, one low in MSV and another high in MSV, to ascertain their preference. The findings suggest that sensation seeking does predict some risky sexual behaviors, but no relationship was found between sensation seeking and MSV. However, respondents expressed a preference for and demonstrated more elaborated message processing after exposure to the high MSV poster, indicating that future campaigns should consider using high MSV materials to target teenagers.