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J Am Coll Health. 2007 Nov-Dec;56(3):317-23.

Unplanned sexual activity as a consequence of alcohol use: a prospective study of risk perceptions and alcohol use among college freshmen.

Author information

1
Psychology department, University of Pittsburgh's, Pittsburgh, PA, USA. wmklein@pitt.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The authors' goal was to show how risk perceptions regarding unplanned sexual activity following alcohol use are prospectively related to subsequent alcohol consumption.

PARTICIPANTS:

Undergraduate students (N = 380) completed questionnaires at 2 time points during their freshman year.

METHODS:

In the middle of the academic year (T1), students estimated their risk of engaging in unplanned sex and reported their alcohol use during the previous term. Four months later (T2), they again reported alcohol use and indicated whether they had engaged in unplanned sex since T1.

RESULTS:

Students who consumed more alcohol at T1 rated their risk of unplanned sex more highly, suggesting relative accuracy. Those with higher risk perceptions consumed more alcohol at T2 (controlling for T1 use), suggesting that they maintained the high-risk behavior. Last, those who were unrealistically optimistic (ie, estimated low risk at T1 yet had unplanned sex by T2) reported greater alcohol use at T2.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings highlight the role that risk perceptions regarding sexual activity may play in college students' alcohol use.

PMID:
18089515
DOI:
10.3200/JACH.56.3.317-324
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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