Adolescents' concerns of the nuclear threat: Implications for identity development and pleasure/sensation-seeking behavior

Date

1989-12

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Texas Tech University

Abstract

Previous research has assumed that knowledge of the nuclear threat in adolescence has had a destructive effect in the development of adolescents. The purpose of the current research was to assess the relationship between adolescents' despair of the nuclear threat and their identity status in ninth graders, eleventh graders, and college freshmen. A second purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between adolescents' despair of the nuclear threat and their pleasure/sensation-seeking behavior.

The present research assessed nuclear anxiety using the Nuclear Threat Index (NTI). The Extended Version of the Objective Measure of Ego Identity Status (EOM-EIS) was utilized to categorize the subjects into identity statuses (i.e., diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium, or identity achievement). Pleasure/sensation-seeking behavior was assessed using the General Scale of the Sensation Seeking Scale, Form IV (GS-SSS-IV). Data were obtained from 214 adolescents.

It was hypothesized that adolescents who have obtained identity achievement status would have a lower score on the NTI than adolescents in the moratorium status and these adolescents would have a lower score on the NTI than adolescents in the diffused status of identity development. A 4 x 2 x 3 multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed using the factors of identity status, gender, and grade level/age, respectively. The three subscales of the NTI (i.e., cognitive, behavior, and affect) were used as the dependent variables. A second hypothesis that there would be a positive relationship between adolescents' despair of the nuclear threat and their pleasure/sensation-seeking behavior was examined through a multiple regression analysis. The subjects' subscale scores on the NTI, gender, and grade level/age were used as the independent variables, while the subjects' respective scores on the GS-SSS-IV were used as the dependent variable.

The results indicated that adolescents who have high nuclear anxiety do not appear to have any more difficulty reaching identity achievement than do their peers who have low anxiety. However, youths who have high nuclear anxiety are more likely to engage in pleasure/sensation-seeking behavior than their peers who have low anxiety. The multiple regression analysis indicated an overall significant model [F (5,208) = 17.93, n < -Oil- When considering the individual independent variables, it was found that pleasure/ sensation-seeking behavior was significantly influenced by the NTI affect subscale scores and gender at the .01 level.

Description

Keywords

Adolescent psychology, Anxiety in adolescence, Personality assessment of teenagers, Nuclear warfare -- Social aspects

Citation