Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 55–68 | Cite as

Risky sexual behavior in college students: Relationships between number of sexual partners, disclosure of previous risky behavior, and alcohol use

  • Laurie L. Desiderato
  • Helen J. Crawford


To examine relationships between disclosure of previous sexually risky behavior to current sexual partners, multiple sexual partners, condom and alcohol use, and vulnerability to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, an anonymous survey was administered to 427 unmarried undergraduates. Of the 262 sexually active students (66%), one third reported having more than one sexual partner in the prior 11 weeks and three fourths reported inconsistent or no condom use. Failure to disclose having previous sexual partners, not using condoms, and testing positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) was common among both men and women. Students with multiple sexual partners were less likely to disclose about previous partners and about failure to use condoms, and more likely to use alcohol prior to sexual activity. Although 40.8% of respondents said they did not use or were less likely to use condoms while drinking, no relationship between alcohol and condom use assessed during the last discrete incident was found. College students continue to engage in sexual activity that puts them at risk for contracting HIV and other STDs. Self-disclosure about past risky behavior, when it occurs, does not appear to lead to higher levels of condom use.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie L. Desiderato
    • 1
  • Helen J. Crawford
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburg

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