Temperament and character profiles of adolescent participants in the choking game

Arch Pediatr. 2022 Oct;29(7):475-479. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2022.06.002. Epub 2022 Sep 13.


Objective: The role of personality traits in self-asphyxial behaviors remains largely unexplored. The aim of this study was to explore temperament and character profiles of youth reporting participation in the choking game using Cloninger's biopsychosocial model of personality.

Methods: Data were collected among French middle-school students (N=1771) aged 9-16 years (mean age=13.0, SD=1.3) and randomly selected from 13 public establishments located in different regions of France. Logistic regression models were run to identify Cloninger's temperamental and character dimensions associated with engagement in the choking game.

Results: Descriptive analysis revealed that participants showed high scores of novelty-seeking (Cohen's d=0.293, p<0.001) and low levels of cooperativeness (Cohen's d=0.182, p<0.01), persistence (Cohen's d=0.182, p<0.05), and reward dependence (Cohen's d=0.241, p<0.01). However, multivariate modeling indicated that only the novelty-seeking dimension tended to slightly differentiate participants from non-participants within the global sample (OR=1.03, 95% CI: 1-1.06). When we compared girls and boys, we found a slight trend in association only in boys (OR=1.04, 95% CI: 1-1.08).

Conclusions: Our study, which contributes to the growing literature on the psychological correlates of choking activities and is the first to investigate the potential predictive role of personality traits in this risky behavior, suggests to some extent that (a) the choking game could possibly be influenced by some temperamental characteristics, and that (b) it might not have the same function according to the gender considered.

Keywords: adolescence; choking game; non-suicidal self-strangulation; personality traits; temperament and character.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Airway Obstruction*
  • Character
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality
  • Personality Disorders / psychology
  • Personality Inventory
  • Temperament*