Alcohol use and sexual risk behavior among college students: understanding gender and ethnic differences

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2009;35(2):80-4. doi: 10.1080/00952990802585422.


Objectives: The purpose of the current study was to assess the role of gender and ethnicity in the relationship between alcohol use and risky sexual behavior.

Method: Sexually active college students (n = 425) reported on alcohol expectancies, perceived risk of HIV, and drinking and sexual behavior in the context of a larger health behavior survey.

Results: Approximately one-third of participants reported binge drinking 3 or more times in the past two weeks. African-American women reported less drinking and less positive alcohol expectancies than other women. Older men engaged more often than younger men in binge drinking and reported more sexual partners in the past year. Younger age and greater perceived risk for HIV were positively associated with condom use for both women and men.

Conclusion: Collectively, these findings suggest that alcohol abuse and HIV prevention efforts among young adults need to consider gender, ethnicity, and age.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcohol Drinking / ethnology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / ethnology
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Behavior / ethnology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students / psychology
  • Students / statistics & numerical data
  • United States
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult