Reducing Sexual Risk Behaviors: Secondary Analyses From a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Brief Web-Based Alcohol Intervention for Underage, Heavy Episodic Drinking College Women

Addict Res Theory. 2017;25(4):302-309. doi: 10.1080/16066359.2016.1271416. Epub 2017 Jan 5.


Background: Alcohol use and sexual risk behaviors (SRBs) are significant problems on college campuses. College women are at particularly high risk for negative consequences associated with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy.

Methods: The current study (n = 160) examined the effect of a brief, web-based alcohol intervention (n = 53) for college women on reducing SRBs compared to an assessment only control (n = 107) with a randomized controlled trial. Outcome measures included condom use assertiveness and number of vaginal sex partners and data were collected at baseline and three-month follow-up.

Results: Regression analyses revealed that the alcohol intervention was associated with higher levels of condom use assertiveness at a three-month follow-up. Additionally, more alcohol use was associated with less condom use assertiveness for those with more significant sexual assault histories.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that alcohol interventions may impact college women's beliefs but not behavior, and future interventions should more explicitly target both alcohol and sexual risk to decrease risky behaviors.

Keywords: Web-based intervention; college; heavy episodic drinking; sexual risk behaviors; women.