Drinking and condom use: results from an event-based daily diary

AIDS Behav. 2008 Jan;12(1):104-12. doi: 10.1007/s10461-007-9216-9. Epub 2007 Feb 27.


Although it is often assumed that drinking alcohol interferes with condom use, most studies on this topic do not meet the conditions required for causal interpretation. We examined the association of drinking to condom use using data from diaries of alcohol use and sexual encounters, collected over 8 weeks from college students and clients of a sexually transmitted disease clinic. This method establishes the temporal relationships between drinking and condom use and controls for individual differences by using a within-subjects analysis. Multilevel models that predicted condom use from alcohol use before the sexual encounter, partner type, and the use of other contraception showed that drinking before sex was unrelated to condom use. These results do not support the persistent notion that alcohol causes people to engage in sexual risk that they would avoid when sober; instead, people tend to follow their usual pattern of condom use, regardless of alcohol use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Partners
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Washington