Use of drinking protective behavioral strategies and sexual perceptions and behaviors in U.S. college students

Diane E. Logan, Kelly H. Koo, Jason R. Kilmer, Jessica A. Blayney, Melissa A. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Alcohol use among college students is linked to an increased likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviors, including casual sex and unprotected sex. These behaviors increase college students' risks for negative social and health-related consequences. This study examined the relationship between drinking behaviors and protective behavioral strategies (PBS), expectancies and perceptions of sexual risk, and actual alcohol-related sexual behaviors and consequences. Sexually active college students completed Web-based self-report measures of drinking behaviors and use of PBS, alcohol expectancies and perceptions of risk, and sexual behaviors and related consequences (n = 524; 57.1% women). Findings indicated that PBS were related to lower expectancies of sexual risk and sexual disinhibition, and among lighter drinkers, lower expectancies of sexual enhancement from alcohol. PBS were also related to decreased perceptions of sexual-related risks, some alcohol-related sexual behaviors, including number of drinks before/during sex, and number of sexual consequences, but were not related to abstaining during sex, frequency of alcohol-related sexual behaviors, or general condom use. These findings demonstrate a disconnect between perceived and actual risks among college students, such that decreased perceptions of risk may not be associated with protective behaviors. Prevention and intervention implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-569
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Volume52
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 13 Jun 2015

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