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Sexual Behaviors Among College Students by Housing

October 1, 1999

A study published in the July/August Journal of Health Education examines high-risk sexual behaviors among college students living in residence halls and fraternity or sorority housing. Researchers surveyed 735 students at a northwestern university: 568 living in residence halls and 167 living in fraternity or sorority housing. Participants were asked about their sexual behavior including number of partners, condom use, and whether they used alcohol/drugs prior to sexual intercourse.


Findings

  • 39.4% of students living in fraternity/sorority housing reported having 6 or more partners compared to 22.8% of students in residence halls.

  • 15% of students living in fraternity/sorority housing reported more than 20 acts of sexual intercourse prior to the study compared to 5% of students living in residence halls.

  • Overall, 38.2% of respondents reported drinking alcohol or using drugs prior to their last sexual intercourse. Students living in fraternity/sorority housing were more likely to report this behavior (50%) than students living in residence halls (30.4%).

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  • 60.3% of students reported using a condom at last sexual intercourse. Condom use did not differ by residence or fraternity/sorority affiliation.

The authors conclude that sexuality education programs should target members of fraternities and sororities and should concentrate on the risks associated with using drugs or alcohol prior to sexual intercourse.

They go on to say that "health educators must make college students aware of the risks they assume, must teach students the possible consequences of their behaviors, and must provide students with the skills that are necessary to make choices that promote health."

For more information:

M. K. Dinger and N. Parsons, "Sexual Activity Among College Students Living in Residence Halls and Fraternity or Sorority Housing," Journal of Health Education, v. 30 no. 4 (July/August 1999), pp. 242-46.



  
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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.
 
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