Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 349-364

First online:

Older adolescents' engagement in casual sex: Impact of risk perception and psychosocial motivations

  • Ruth Andrea LevinsonAffiliated withDepartment of Education, Skidmore College
  • , James JaccardAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York
  • , LuAnn BeamerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


The relationship between attitudes for casual sex and casual sex behavior was investigated for a group of older adolescents between the ages of 17 and 19. In addition, factors that influence casual sex orientations were studied. Models of behavior that emphasize disease issues as a primary determinant of casual sex behavior were compared with models that emphasize a broader range of social-psychological motivations. Results showed that the relationship between attitudes and behavior was stronger for females than males. In addition, disease-related variables were found to be correlated with behavior in a direction opposite to what traditional disease models would predict. The results were interpreted in the context of a behavioral inference model. It was found that casual sex behavior is more heavily influenced by a broad range of social-psychological motivations as compared to disease-based variables. Implications for educational interventions were developed.