The date and hook-up social scripts: patterns of sexual partnering among college students in the United States

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Joseph E. Padgett (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Arielle Kuperberg

Abstract: Using the Online College Social Life Survey (OCSLS, N=24,131 students 22 institutions), I conduct empirical analyses in an effort to differentiate and understand the date and hook-up social scripts. These scripts address sexual partnering, and existing literature portrays the hook-up script as surpassing the date script as preferred method of sexual partnering among college students. To what extent do these social scripts differ? I implement extensive difference testing, develop logistic as well as ordinal response regression models, and utilize multilevel modeling techniques to examine selection into, levels of risk during, and the outcomes of college students' sexual encounters. I address gender, social ties, personal traits, and structural features of college life in my analyses. Based on a theoretical framework situating trust as a cognitive tool, I question the effects of social contexts, personal goals, and divergent scripts on individuals' behavior. Do meeting contexts that represent a greater potential social connection readily facilitate trust states that lead students to engage in risk-taking behavior? What traits are correlated with a greater probability of hooking-up rather than dating, facing higher levels of STI risk, participation in encounters while intoxicated, and low or high levels of reported satisfaction following encounters? Findings reveal that hooking-up, compared to dating, is indicative of higher probability of elevated STI risk, results in lower likelihood of high overall satisfaction, and is highly correlated with intoxication during the encounter. I conclude that the hook-up script does not act as a replacement to the script of dating, rather that these scripts represent divergent goals and methods of obtaining those goals.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2012
Dates, Gender, Hookups, Sexual partnering, Social script, Trust
College students $x Sexual behavior $z United States
Interpersonal relations $z United States
Dating (Social customs) $z United States

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