Alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and sex: an analysis of risky behaviors among young adults

Int J Addict. 1995 Feb;30(3):239-58. doi: 10.3109/10826089509048724.


This paper reexamines data from two previous surveys. It looks at self-reported alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use and sexual risk-taking among three subgroups of young adults. All subjects (N = 1,387) were aged 20-30. The samples consisted of nurses in the Lothian Region, and residents in Muirhouse (Edinburgh) and Easterhouse (Glasgow). Factor analysis revealed that risk-taking behavior was neither entirely general nor entirely specific. Although there was some tendency for a risk-taker in one area to be a risk-taker in others, five fairly distinct types of risk-taking could be distinguished. These included sexual risk-taking, illicit use of drugs, and excessive alcohol consumption. The samples differed in the extent to which they indulged in the different types of risk-taking, and various other predictors of these behaviors were found. Different patterns of association emerged in relation to specific subgroups of respondents.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholism* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tobacco Use Disorder* / epidemiology
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology


  • Illicit Drugs