HIV-risk behaviours of American spring break vacationers: a case of situational disinhibition?

Int J STD AIDS. 2002 Nov;13(11):733-43. doi: 10.1258/095646202320753673.


Young adults are at high risk for acquiring STDs/HIV due primarily to multiple sex partners, unprotected sex, and substance use combined with sexual activity. Contranormative settings--such as the annual spring break vacation--provide ideal conditions for the potentially lethal interaction between alcohol, drugs, and sexual risk-taking. As a steadily growing form of youth travel and characterized by binge drinking, illicit drug use, and unsafe sexual practices, spring break has become a North American institution involving large numbers of travellers. In this study, the theory of interpersonal behaviour was used to explain college students' health-risk behaviours in the context of spring break and pre- and post-spring break surveys were used to examine casual sex and condom use behaviours. Multivariate analyses revealed peer influences, prior experiences with casual sex, alcohol consumption prior to sex, and impulsivity to be significant predictors of casual sex, while impulsivity and condom availability were significant predictors of students' use of condoms during casual sex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Peer Group
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Safe Sex / psychology
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Students / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / complications
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Travel / psychology
  • United States
  • Universities