The effects of alcohol, partner type and impulsivity on sexual risk-taking behavior in college-age women

UNCW Author/Contributor (non-UNCW co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Nina L. Hayhurst (Creator)
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW )
Web Site:
William Overman

Abstract: With the AIDS and STD epidemic on the rise, the concern for young people?s risky behavior in sexual situations becomes a crucial issue. Numerous studies have found that alcohol influences risky sexual behavior, but other factors seem to play a role as well. The current study examines participants? perceptions of different partner types (new, casual and steady) and alcohol consumption on the likelihood of condom use in hypothetical situations in vignettes. In addition, participant self-reports of alcohol consumption and their scores on impulsivity scales were correlated to condom use self-efficacy scores and self-reported condom use. A 2x3 MANOVA was conducted using two levels of alcohol (alcohol/no alcohol) and three levels of sexual partner types (new, casual, steady) in a vignette randomly assigned to female college students. Perception of risk, importance in condom use, and likelihood of the characters to suggest the use of a condom were rated on a 5-point Likert scale. Two regression equations were also conducted with the first one measuring the participants? history of alcohol use in the past three months, level of impulsivity and condom use self-efficacy. The second equation included these three scales as well as participant-reported actual condom use in the past three months. A significant main effect in the alcohol condition was found in the MANOVA as well as a main effect in partner type. A significant interaction was also found in the MANOVA. Specifically, a univariate analysis revealed a main effect in partner type for the vignette question rating the participants? perception of the situation risk; participants perceived a situation to be higher in risk when the male is a new partner than when he is a steady partner. The univariate analysis also revealed a main effect in the alcohol condition as well as an interaction in the vignette question measuring the participants? expectation of the female character suggesting the use of a condom. Participants reported lower expectation for the female character to suggest the use of a condom when drinking across all partner types. The interaction revealed that the new and casual partner conditions responded similarly while drinking but the steady partner condition was significantly different in that participants expected the character to suggest a condom regardless of alcohol condition. The first regression equation revealed that impulsivity, though not alcohol use, was a significant factor in condom use self-efficacy. The second regression equation showed that impulsivity, alcohol use, and condom use self-efficacy all were significant predictors in participants? self-reported condom use. Consequences of alcohol intoxication and the risk in all partner types are imperative issues that young adults need to understand. The results suggest that increased harm reduction education and health education on disease risk with all types of partners are particularly needed in this population.

Additional Information

A Thesis Submitted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts
Language: English
Date: 2009
Women college students--Sexual behavior, Women college students--Alcohol use
Women college students -- Sexual behavior
Women college students -- Alcohol use

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