Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 5, pp 925–930 | Cite as

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

  • Jennifer L. BrownEmail author
  • Amelia E. Talley
  • Andrew K. Littlefield
  • Nicole K. Gause


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.


Alcohol expectancies Sex motives Condom use Expectancy motive theory Young women 



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.

Compliance with ethical standards

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.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer L. Brown
    • 1
    Email author
  • Amelia E. Talley
    • 2
  • Andrew K. Littlefield
    • 2
  • Nicole K. Gause
    • 3
  1. 1.Addiction Sciences Division, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral NeuroscienceUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychological SciencesTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA

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