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Psychol Rep. 2002 Feb;90(1):117-30.

High risk behaviors in a sample of Mexican-American college students.

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Social Advocates for Youth San Diego, Inc., USA.


This study explored different types of high risk behaviors of Mexican-American college students attending a small university in south Texas. High risk behaviors for contracting HIV/AIDS examined in this study included unprotected sex, drug use, and alcohol abuse. In 1995 in the United States, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in people between the ages of 25 and 44. Because use of alcohol and certain recreational drugs lowers inhibitions, their use could increase the possibility of having unprotected and unplanned sex with multiple partners. Thus, it was expected that Mexican-American college students who use drugs and alcohol would be more likely to engage in unprotected sex. Data were from 105 men and 211 women between the ages of 18 and 30 years. Drug use and alcohol abuse were significantly associated with high risk sexual behavior. Individuals in monogamous relationships were more likely to not use condoms than those involved in casual relationships. Self-reported religiosity was not correlated with high risk behaviors, although there were implications that stronger religious affiliation did alter sexual beliefs and practices. Lastly, parental communication was not significantly associated with high risk behaviors, but family unity did seem related to some risky sexual practices.

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