Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Welfare

First Advisor's Name

Karen M. Sowers-Hoag

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Lilly M. Langer

Third Advisor's Name

Miriam Potocky

Date of Defense



This study examined the association of theoretically guided and empirically identified psychosocial variables on the co-occurrence of risky sexual behavior with alcohol consumption among university students. The study utilized event analysis to determine whether risky sex occurred during the same event in which alcohol was consumed. Relevant conceptualizations included alcohol disinhibition, self-efficacy, and social network theories. Predictor variables included negative condom attitudes, general risk taking, drinking motives, mistrust, social group membership, and gender. Factor analysis was employed to identify dimensions of drinking motives. Measured risky sex behaviors were (a) sex without a condom, (b) sex with people not known very well, (c) sex with injecting drug users (IDUs), (d) sex with people without knowing whether they had a STD, and (e) sex with using drugs. A purposive sample was used and included 222 male and female students recruited from a major urban university. Chi-square analysis was used to determine whether participants were more likely to engage in risky sex behavior in different alcohol use contexts. These contexts were only when drinking, only when not drinking, and when drinking or not. The chi-square findings did not support the hypothesis that university students who use alcohol with sex will engage in riskier sex. These results added to the literature by extending other similar findings to a university student sample. For each of the observed risky sex behaviors, discriminant analysis methodology was used to determine whether the predictor variables would differentiate the drinking contexts, or whether the behavior occurred. Results from discriminant analyses indicated that sex with people not known very well was the only behavior for which there were significant discriminant functions. Gender and enhancement drinking motives were important constructs in the classification model. Limitations of the study and implications for future research, social work practice and policy are discussed.





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