Sex, alcohol and drugs? Young people's experience of Schoolies Week

Aust N Z J Public Health. 1997 Apr;21(2):175-80. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.1997.tb01679.x.


The 'Schoolies Week' phenomenon attracts more than 10,000 school leavers to Surfers Paradise in November and December each year. In a survey of these young people (N = 1796), from Queensland, New South Wales (NSW), and Victoria, about two-thirds of the young men and one-third of the young women expected to have sexual intercourse while in Surfers Paradise. Of these, about 80 per cent expected to use condoms. Most expected to be drunk most nights or every night of their holidays and 27 per cent of young men and 17 per cent of young women expected to be 'stoned' most nights or every night. Most young men and a significant proportion of young women achieved these expectations, with respondents from NSW and Victoria being more likely to do so than Queensland residents. Over one-third of the sample had engaged in sexual intercourse prior to interview, and of these, two-thirds of young men and over half the young women always used condoms with casual partners. The rates for sexual intercourse with regular partners were slightly lower. Those who were inconsistent condom users on holiday were likely to have a history of inconsistent condom use and to have multiple casual partners and/or regular partners in addition to casual partners. It is recommended that the NSW and Victorian governments accept some responsibility for the behaviour of young people attending Schoolies Week. A coordinated intervention strategy is required because there are significant prior indicators of young people's risk practices in Surfers Paradise during Schoolies Week.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Australia
  • Condoms / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires