Predictors of Sexual Hookups: A Theory-Based, Prospective Study of First-Year College Women
Hooking up, or engaging in sexual interactions outside of committed relationships, has become increasingly common among college students. This study sought to identify predictors of sexual hookup behavior among first-year college women using a prospective longitudinal design. We used problem behavior theory (Jessor, 1991) as an organizing conceptual framework and examined risk and protective factors for hooking up from three domains: personality, behavior, and perceived environment. Participants (N = 483, 67 % White) completed an initial baseline survey that assessed risk and protective factors, and nine monthly follow-up surveys that assessed the number of hookups involving performing oral sex, receiving oral sex, and vaginal sex. Over the course of the school year, 20 % of women engaged in at least one hookup involving receiving oral sex, 25 % engaged in at least one hookup involving performing oral sex, and 25 % engaged in at least one hookup involving vaginal sex. Using two-part modeling with logistic and negative binomial regression, we identified predictors of hooking up. Risk factors for sexual hookups included hookup intentions, impulsivity, sensation-seeking, pre-college hookups, alcohol use, marijuana use, social comparison orientation, and situational triggers for hookups. Protective factors against sexual hookups included subjective religiosity, self-esteem, religious service attendance, and having married parents. Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, hookup attitudes, depression, cigarette smoking, academic achievement, injunctive norms, parental connectedness, and being in a romantic relationship were not consistent predictors of sexual hookups. Future research on hookups should consider the array of individual and social factors that influence this behavior.
KeywordsHooking up Casual sex Sexual behavior College students Women
- Aubrey, J. S., & Smith, S. E. (2011). Development and validation of the Endorsement of the Hookup Culture Index. Journal of Sex Research. doi:10.1080/00224499.2011.637246.
- Bogle, K. A. (2008). Hooking up: Sex, dating, and relationships on campus. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
- Charnigo, R., Noar, S. M., Garnett, C., Crosby, R., Palmgreen, P., & Zimmerman, R. S. (2012). Sensation seeking and impulsivity: Combined associations with risky sexual behavior in a large sample of young adults. Journal of Sex Research. doi:10.1080/00224499.2011.652264.
- Donovan, J. E. (2005). Problem behavior theory. In C. B. Fisher & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Encyclopedia of applied developmental science (Vol. 2, pp. 872–877). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- England, P., & Thomas, R. J. (2006). The decline of the date and the rise of the college hook up. In A. S. Skolnick & J. H. Skolnick (Eds.), Family in transition (14th ed., pp. 151–162). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
- Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group. (1999). Multidimensional measurement of religiousness/spirituality for use in health research: A report of the Fetzer Institute/National Institute on Aging Working Group. Kalamazoo, MI: Fetzer Institute.Google Scholar
- Fielder, R. L., Carey, K. B., & Carey, M. P. (2012). Are hookups replacing romantic relationships? A longitudinal study of first-year female college students. Journal of Adolescent Health. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.09.001.
- Flack, W. F., Daubman, K. A., Caron, M. L., Asadorian, J. A., D’Aureli, N. R., Gigliotti, S. N., … Stine, E. R. (2007). Risk factors and consequences of unwanted sex among university students: Hooking up, alcohol, and stress response. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 22, 139–157.Google Scholar
- LaBrie, J. W., Hummer, J. F., Ghaidarov, T. M., Lac, A., & Kenney, S. R. (2012). Hooking up in the college context: The event-level effects of alcohol use and partner familiarity on hookup behaviors and contentment. Journal of Sex Research. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.714010.
- Lehmiller, J. J., VanderDrift, L. E., & Kelly, J. R. (2012). Sexual communication, satisfaction, and condom use behavior in friends with benefits and romantic partners. Journal of Sex Research. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.719167.
- Lewis, M. A., Atkins, D. C., Blayney, J. A., Dent, D. V., & Kaysen, D. L. (2012a). What is hooking up? Examining definitions of hooking up in relation to behavior and normative perception. Journal of Sex Research. doi:10.1080/00224499.2012.706333.
- Muthén, B. O., & Muthén, L. K. (2007). Mplus (Version 5) [Computer software]. Los Angeles, CA: Muthén and Muthén.Google Scholar
- Paul, E. L. (2006). Beer goggles, catching feelings, and the walk of shame: The myths and realities of the hookup experience. In D. C. Kirkpatrick, S. Duck, & M. K. Foley (Eds.), Relating difficulty: The process of constructing and managing difficult interaction (pp. 141–160). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
- Plante, R. F. (2006). Sexualities in context: A social perspective. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
- Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Schalling, D. (1978). Psychopathy-related personality variables and the psychophysiology of socialization. In R. D. Hare & D. Schalling (Eds.), Psychopathic behavior: Approaches to research (pp. 85–105). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Stepp, L. S. (2007). Unhooked: How young women pursue sex, delay love, and lose at both. New York: Riverhead Books.Google Scholar
- Weinhardt, L. S., Forsyth, A. D., Carey, M. P., Jaworski, B. C., & Durant, L. E. (1998). Reliability and validity of self-report measures of HIV-related sexual behavior: Progress since 1990 and recommendations for research and practice. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 27, 155–180.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar