Study Examines Alcohol Use, Safer-Sex Communication, and Condom Use Among College Students
October 1, 1999
A study in the 1999 Journal of Sex Education and Therapy examines the relationship between alcohol consumption, safer-sex communication, and condom use among college students.
The study surveyed 320 undergraduate students (184 females and 136 males) who had engaged in a heterosexual sexual encounter during the month prior to completing the survey.
Researchers used a variety of questions to assess participants' general knowledge about alcohol, attitudes toward responsible drinking, and motivations/expectations of alcohol consumption. Participants were also asked about their last sexual encounter, which, for the purposes of the survey, was defined as penile-vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse.
The results include:
Attitudes and Knowledge about Alcohol
Alcohol Consumption and Sexual Activity
Communication About Safer Sex
Relationship Between Alcohol Consumption and Safer-Sex Communication
This study confirmed the findings of previous studies which have shown that knowledge alone does not have a significant impact on drinking and safer-sex practices. The authors state that many alcohol and sexuality programs are primarily knowledge-based and consequently have little impact upon participants' behavior.
In addition, the study found gender differences for predictors of drinking as well as the ways that drinking affects sexual communication and condom use. The authors suggest that programs need to be sensitive to gender differences as well as similarities.
They recommend that future programs be designed to help college students self-monitor behaviors, set limits, identify risky situations, communicate and negotiate, and reduce risks in both the areas of alcohol consumption and sexual behaviors.
For more information:
P. B. Koch, et al, "Mixing Sex and Alcohol in College: Female-Male HIV Risk Model," Journal of Sex Education and Therapy, 1999, v. 24, pp 99-108.
Trends in HIV-Related Sexual Risk Behaviors Among High School Students -- Selected U.S. Cities, 1991-1997
This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.