Violent and sensational interests are reported in the background history of some mentally disordered offenders. As sensation-seeking accounts for the drive for intellectual and physical excitement, it was thought that this trait would also underlie an interest in sensational material. We examined the differences in sensational interests and SS between patients detained under the Mental Health Act (1983) classifications of psychopathic disorder (PD) and mental illness (MI), the degree to which sensational interests related to sensation-seeking, and the relationship between these factors and self-reported personality disorders. The Sensational Interests Questionnaire (SIQ), Zuckerman’s Sensation-Seeking Scale (SSS), the Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM) and the MCMI-II were given to 42 patients (32 MI, 10 PD). There were no significant differences between the MI and PD groups for scores on the SIQ or the SSS. The SIQ was not related to scores on the SPM. As predicted, the SIQ’s subscales of militarism and the violent-occult were significantly and positively associated with sensation-seeking, especially the SSS subscales of Disinhibition and Thrill and Adventure Seeking. Sensation-seeking mediated the relationship between sensational interests and measures of personality disorder
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