Students’ Alcohol Use, Sexual Behaviors, and Contraceptive Use While Studying Abroad
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College study abroad students may represent a subgroup at risk for increased alcohol use and sexual activity while traveling. The present study explored student’s alcohol use, sexual activity, and the interrelationship between the two while abroad. A sample of 372 students (Mage abroad = 20, SD = 3.3, 68% women) who had traveled abroad in the past 3 years were recruited from a large, southern university. Students completed an online survey of demographics, alcohol use, sexual behaviors, and contraceptive use. Students reported consuming an average of six drinks in one sitting, and 76% of women and men met criteria for ‘hazardous drinking’ while abroad. Students who met criteria for ‘hazardous drinking’ were more likely to engage in sexual activity; however, they also had a greater likelihood of wearing a condom. Our findings show students engage in problematic drinking and this is related to their engagement in sexual activity while abroad. Findings extend previous research and suggest study abroad programs should address norms around drinking and sexual activity prior to travel to ensure students’ safety while abroad.
KeywordsAlcohol use Sexual activity Study abroad students Contraceptive use
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