Sociosexuality Predicts Drinking Frequency Among First-Year College Women


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Abstract

The first semester of college is marked by increases in both heavy episodic drinking and sexual activity, including hookups. Because drinking and casual sex are highly related and college students believe that drinking settings facilitate hookups, students may drink as a way of facilitating uncommitted sexual partnerships. In 2 samples of college freshman women, we considered whether sociosexuality, a personality trait reflecting interest in casual, uncommitted sexual partnerships, prospectively predicted frequency of drinking. In Study 1 (N = 142), sociosexuality, assessed early in the first semester of college, positively predicted frequency of drinking occasions at the end of the semester after controlling for initial drinking frequency. In Study 2 (N = 654), sociosexuality again predicted frequency of drinking occasions after controlling for initial drinking frequency. Expected hookups with alcohol, but not expected hookups without alcohol, also predicted frequency of heavy episodic drinking occasions. Findings suggest that drinking frequency among college freshman women may reflect, at least in part, their interest in uncommitted sexual encounters. Because freshman women face a disproportionate risk of sexual assault relative to older students and drinking and sexual activity serve as significant risk factors, these findings have particular relevance for sexual assault prevention efforts.

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