Skip to main content

Young women’s alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking mediate the link between sexual enhancement motives and condomless sex when drinking

Abstract

Alcohol use is prevalent among young women. Alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking and sexual enhancement motives have been associated with decreased condom use. This study investigated whether alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking mediated the association between sexual enhancement motives and condom use. Young women (N = 287, M age = 20.1) completed a survey assessing alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking, sexual enhancement motives, and characteristics of their most recent sexual encounter involving alcohol. Most participants (66.9 %) reported unprotected sex during their last sexual encounter involving alcohol. Higher sexual enhancement motives (OR = 1.35, p = .019) and alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking (OR = 1.89, p < .001) were associated with increased likelihood of condomless sex. Alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking mediated the association between sexual enhancement motives and condomless vaginal sex. Within the context of sexual encounters involving alcohol, expectancies that drinking may result in sexual risk-taking may account for why sexual enhancement motives relate to decreased condom use.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  • Abbey, A., Parkhill, M. R., Buck, P. O., & Saenz, C. (2007). Condom use with a casual partner: What distinguishes college students’ use when intoxicated? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 76–83.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Baliunas, D., Rehm, J., Irving, H., & Shuper, P. (2010). Alcohol consumption and risk of incident Human Immunodeficiency Virus infection: A meta-analysis. International Journal Of Public Health, 55, 159–166.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Brown, J. L., & Vanable, P. A. (2007). Alcohol use, partner type, and risky sexual behavior among college students: Findings from an event-level study. Addictive Behaviors, 32, 2940–2952.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • CDC. (2013). Sexually transmitted disease surveillance 2012. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Google Scholar 

  • CDC. (2014a). HIV among women. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/risk_women.pdf.

  • CDC. (2014b). 2013 Sexually Transmitted Diseases Surveillance: STDs in adolescents and young adults. GA: Atlanta.

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen, C. M., Dufour, M. C., & Yi, H.-Y. (2004). Alcohol consumption among young adults ages 18–24 in the United States: Results from the 2001–2002 NESARC survey. Alcohol Research & Health, 28, 269–280.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, M. L. (2002). Alcohol use and risky sexual behavior among college students and youth: Evaluating the evidence. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, Supplement Number, 14, 101–117.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, M. L. (2006). Does drinking promote risky sexual behavior? A complex answer to a simple question. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 19–23.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, M. L., Agocha, V. B., & Sheldon, M. S. (2000). A motivational perspective on risky behaviors: The role of personality and affect regulatory processes. Journal of Personality, 68, 1059–1088.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cooper, M. L., Shapiro, C. M., & Powers, A. M. (1998). Motivations for sex and risky sexual behavior among adolescents and young adults: A functional perspective. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1528–1558.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dermen, K. H., & Cooper, M. L. (1994). Sex-related alcohol expectancies among adolescents: I. Scale development. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 8, 152–160.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dermen, K. H., & Cooper, M. L. (2000). Inhibition conflict and alcohol expectancy as moderators of alcohol’s relationship to condom use. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, 8, 198–206.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Dermen, K. H., Cooper, M. L., & Agocha, V. B. (1998). Sex-related alcohol expectancies as moderators of the relationship between alcohol use and risky sex in adolescents. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 59, 71–77.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Desiderato, L. L., & Crawford, H. J. (1995). Risky sexual behavior in college students: Relationships between number of sexual partners, disclosure of previous risky behavior, and alcohol use. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 24, 55–68.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dingle, G. A., & Oei, T. P. S. (1997). Is alcohol a cofactor of HIV and AIDS? Evidence from immunological and behavioral studies. Psychological Bulletin, 122, 56–71.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Foster, K. T., Hicks, B. M., Iacono, W. G., & McGue, M. (2014). Alcohol use disorder in women: Risks and consequences of an adolescent onset and persistent course. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 28, 322–335.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • George, W. H., & Stoner, S. A. (2000). Understanding acute alcohol effects on sexual behavior. Annual Review of Sex Research, 11, 92.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • George, W. H., Stoner, S. A., Norris, J., Lopez, P. A., & Lehman, G. L. (2000). Alcohol expectancies and sexuality: A self-fulfilling prophecy analysis of dyadic perceptions and behavior. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 61, 168–176.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Grossbard, J. R., Lee, C. M., Neighbors, C., Hendershot, C. S., & Larimer, M. E. (2007). Alcohol and risky sex in athletes and nonathletes: What role do sex motives play? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68, 566–574.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hayes, A. F. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. New York: The Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hendershot, C. S., Stoner, S. A., George, W. H., & Norris, J. (2007). Alcohol use, expectancies, and sexual sensation seeking as correlates of HIV risk behavior in heterosexual young adults. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 21, 365–372.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Kuntsche, E., Knibbe, R., Engles, R., & Gmel, G. (2007). Drinking motives as mediators of the link between alcohol expectancies and alcohol use among adolescents. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68, 76–85.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • LaBrie, J. W., Schiffman, J., & Earleywine, M. (2002). Expectancies specific to condom use mediate the alcohol and sexual risk relationship. Journal of Sex Research, 39, 145–152.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Leigh, B. C., Vanslyke, J. G., Hoppe, M. J., Rainey, D. T., Morrison, D. M., & Gillmore, M. R. (2008). Drinking and condom use: Results from an event-based daily diary. AIDS and Behavior, 12, 104–112.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Patrick, M. E., & Maggs, J. L. (2009). Does drinking lead to sex? Daily alcohol-sex behaviors and expectancies among college students. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23, 472–481.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Peterson, J. B., Rothfleisch, J., Zelazo, P. D., & Pihl, R. O. (1990). Acute alcohol intoxication and cognitive functioning. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 51, 114–122.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2008). Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models. Behavior Research Methods, 40, 879–891.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Schroder, K. E., Carey, M. P., & Vanable, P. A. (2003). Methodological challenges in research on sexual risk behavior: I. Item content, scaling, and data analytical options. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 26, 76–103.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  • Senf, J. H., & Price, C. Q. (1994). Young adults, alcohol and condom use: What is the connection? Journal of Adolescent Health, 15, 238–244.

    CAS  Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (2005). Results from the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings.

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2007). The Surgeon General’s call to action to prevent and reduce underage drinking. http://www.camy.org/_docs/resources/fact-sheets/Call_To_Action.pdf.

  • Walsh, J. L., Fielder, R. L., Carey, K. B., & Carey, M. P. (2014). Do alcohol and marijuana use decrease the probability of condom use for college women? Journal of Sex Research, 51, 145–158.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Weinhardt, L. S., & Carey, M. P. (2000). Does alcohol lead to sexual risk behavior? Findings from event-level research. Annual Review of Sexual Research, 11, 125–157.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • White, H. R., Fleming, C. B., Catalano, R. F., & Bailey, J. A. (2009). Prospective associations among alcohol use-related sexual enhancement expectancies, sex after alcohol use, and casual sex. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 23, 702–707.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grants from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (R03DA0377860) to Jennifer L. Brown, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to Amelia Talley (R00AA019974), and research development funds from Texas Tech University to Jennifer L. Brown.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jennifer L. Brown.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

Jennifer L. Brown, Amelia E. Talley, Andrew K. Littlefield, Nicole K. Gause, declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, as revised in 2000. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Brown, J.L., Talley, A.E., Littlefield, A.K. et al. Young women’s alcohol expectancies for sexual risk-taking mediate the link between sexual enhancement motives and condomless sex when drinking. J Behav Med 39, 925–930 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-016-9760-8

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10865-016-9760-8

Keywords

  • Alcohol expectancies
  • Sex motives
  • Condom use
  • Expectancy motive theory
  • Young women