“Hooking Up” Among College Students: Demographic and Psychosocial Correlates
- 8.3k Downloads
This study investigated 832 college students’ experiences with hooking up, a term that refers to a range of physically intimate behavior (e.g., passionate kissing, oral sex, and intercourse) that occurs outside of a committed relationship. Specifically, we examined how five demographic variables (sex, ethnicity, parental income, parental divorce, and religiosity) and six psychosocial factors (e.g., attachment styles, alcohol use, psychological well-being, attitudes about hooking up, and perceptions of the family environment) related to whether individuals had hooked up in the past year. Results showed that similar proportions of men and women had hooked up but students of color were less likely to hook up than Caucasian students. More alcohol use, more favorable attitudes toward hooking up, and higher parental income were associated with a higher likelihood of having hooked up at least once in the past year. Positive, ambivalent, and negative emotional reactions to the hooking up experience(s) were also examined. Women were less likely to report that hooking up was a positive emotional experience than men. Young adults who reported negative and ambivalent emotional reactions to hooking up also reported lower psychological well-being and less favorable attitudes toward hooking up as compared to students who reported a positive hooking up experience. Based on these findings, suggestions for psychoeducational programming are offered. Additionally, directions for future research are provided.
KeywordsHooking up Interpersonal relationships Casual sex Ethnicity
Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by a grant from The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to the third author (5R01HD047564) for a project conducted by the second and third authors. The contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIH or NICHD.
- American College Student Health. (2007). American College Health Association Survey Data. Retrieved from http://www.acha-ncha.org/pubs_rpts.html.
- Bisson, M. A., & Levine, T. R. (in press). Negotiating a friends with benefits relationship. Archives of Sexual Behavior.Google Scholar
- Blais, M. A., & Baity, M. R. (2005). Administration and scoring manual for the Schwartz Outcome Scale–10 (SOS–10). Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School: Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
- D’Onofrio, B. M., Turkheimer, E., Emery, R. E., Slutske, W. S., Heath, A. C., Madden, P. A., et al. (2006). A genetically informed study of the processes underlying the association between parental marital instability and offspring adjustment. Developmental Psychology, 42, 486–499.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Glenn, N., & Marquardt, E. (2001). Hooking up, hanging out, and hoping for Mr. Right: College women on dating and mating today. New York: Institute for American Values.Google Scholar
- Grello, C. M., Welsh, D. P., Harper, M. S., & Dickson, J. W. (2003). Dating and sexual relationship trajectories and adolescent functioning. Adolescent and Family Health, 3, 103–112.Google Scholar
- Owen, J. J., & Rodolfa, E. (in press). Prevention through connection: Creating a campus climate of care. Planning in Higher Education. Google Scholar
- Paul, E. L., & Hayes, K. A. (2002). The causalities of “causal sex”: A qualitative exploration of the phenomenology of college students’ hookups. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 19, 639–661.Google Scholar
- Saunders, J. B., Aasland, O. G., Babor, T. F., de la Fuente, J. R., & Grant, M. (1993). Development of the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT): WHO collaborative project on early detection of persons with harmful alcohol consumption-II. Addiction, 88, 791–804.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Stanley, S. M. (2002). What is it with men and commitment, anyway? Keynote address to the 6th Annual Smart Marriages Conference. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
- Stepp, L. S. (2007). Unhooked: How young women pursue sex, delay love and lose at both. New York: Riverhead Books.Google Scholar