Original Paper

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 935-943

Diverse Reactions to Hooking Up Among U.S. University Students

  • Johanna StrokoffAffiliated withDepartment of Education and Counseling Psychology, Counseling, and College Student Personnel, College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville Email author 
  • , Jesse OwenAffiliated withDepartment of Education and Counseling Psychology, Counseling, and College Student Personnel, College of Education and Human Development, University of Louisville
  • , Frank D. FinchamAffiliated withCollege of Human Sciences, Florida State University

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Abstract

Hooking up is defined as a physical encounter between two people who are not romantically committed. This study explored whether there were subgroups of young adults with unique reactions to hooking up (N = 879). Psychosocial predictor variables (gender, depression, loneliness, intoxication level, college adjustment, and hope for a committed relationship) were investigated along with emotional reactions as the outcome variables. Through the use of cluster analysis, four distinct clusters were identified: Happy Hopeful, Content Realist, Used and Confused, and Disappointed and Disengaged. The majority (62 %) of the sample reported mostly positive reactions to hooking up and fell within the Happy Hopeful or Content Realist clusters. Protective factors in these two clusters included hope for a committed relationship, having realistic expectations, and healthy psychological adjustment. The Used and Confused and Disappointed and Disengaged clusters reported the most negative hooking up reactions and consisted of 38 % of the overall sample. These two groups reported increased depression and loneliness symptoms and lower levels of social adjustment as compared to those clusters with more positive reactions.

Keywords

Hooking up Casual sex Cluster analysis