Home > Risky sex behaviours among college students: The psychosocial profile.

Dolphin, Louise and Fitzgerald, Amanda and Dooley, Barbara (2018) Risky sex behaviours among college students: The psychosocial profile. Early Intervention in Psychiatry, 12, (6), pp. 1203-1212.

AIMS: Risky sex behaviours among college students are a growing public health concern. However, few studies have profiled these behaviours using a large range of psychosocial correlates.

METHODS: Participants were 6874 undergraduate and postgraduate students (64.7% female, age range 17-25 years, M = 20.43 years, SD = 1.86 years) drawn from 13 higher-level institutions in Ireland.

RESULTS: Regarding prevalence, 75% of the sample report that they have been, or are currently sexually active. Of this sexually active cohort (n = 5111), 27.2% report early sexual initiation, 29.5% report 5 or more lifetime sexual partners and 12.1% report 2 or more sexual partners in the past 3 months. In addition, 47.7% of students report inconsistent condom use and 39.5% report inconsistent use of other contraceptive methods in the past 3 months. Using multivariate logistic regression analyses, significant correlates of risky sex behaviour are identified across 5 groups of psychosocial predictors (demographic, sexuality and relationships, substance use, mental well-being and personal resources). Differences between males and females and between different sexual orientations are highlighted.

CONCLUSIONS: Suggestions are made for sexual education and intervention programs to specifically target subgroups of the student population.

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