Navigation Links
Heavy drinking, conduct disorder linked to high-risk sexual behavior

St. Louis, Dec. 3, 2007 Psychiatry researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that a clinical diagnosis of alcohol dependence in young adults is associated with having a high number of sex partners.

"Some participants in the study reported 50 or 100 partners, and research shows and common sense tells you that the more sex partners you have, the more likely you'll encounter someone with an STD," says first author Patricia Cavazos-Rehg, Ph.D., research instructor in the Department of Psychiatry. "Chances also increase for unintended pregnancies and other health complications."

The study, published in the December issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, also found links between a conduct disorder diagnosis and high numbers of sexual partners as well as between problem drinking and more partners. Of the three, however, alcohol dependence had the most influence on number of sex partners.

Alcohol dependence is an excessive use of alcohol that's harmful to physical and mental health. Some alcohol-dependent people drink every day. Others may drink only sporadically but consume large amounts of alcohol when they do drink. That sort of binge drinking is particularly common in adolescents and young adults, like those surveyed in this study. Problem drinkers, on the other hand, have many of the same symptoms, and may go on to become dependent, but they were not alcohol dependent when the study was conducted.

Conduct disorder is a disruptive disorder, like ADHD or oppositional defiant disorder. Its symptoms tend to include truancy from school, setting fires, getting into fights or being cruel to people or animals.

Of those in this study who were alcohol dependent, 45 percent reported having 10 or more sexual partners. In addition, 37 percent of those with a conduct disorder diagnosis had at least 10 partners.

Previous studies have linked heavy drinking and conduct disorder to high-risk sexual behavior. This study focused specifically on the number of partners, and it defines high risk using a larger number than typically seen in the psychiatric literature.

"To my knowledge, most research in young adults has used a standard of 'up to six' sex partners when examining risk," Cavazos-Rehg says. "But the average number of partners for the people in this study was 9.26, so instead of using 'six or more' partners as our standard for high risk, we increased that number to 10."

The researchers conducted personal interviews with 601 people between 18 and 25 years old. All were unmarried and related to alcohol-dependent individuals who participated in the national Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism (COGA), an ongoing project involving interviews and DNA samples from more than 10,000 people. The COGA database includes individuals from inpatient and outpatient alcohol treatment centers and their families. Families in the COGA study usually have multiple members with alcohol dependence.

"We categorized these subjects according to three levels of alcohol involvement non-dependent, problem drinking and alcohol dependent and demonstrated how a stepwise increase from non-dependence to problematic alcohol use to alcohol dependence is associated with a higher number of sexual partners," says Cavazos-Rehg. "We found that 22 percent of the non-dependent people had 10 or more partners, compared to 31 percent of problem drinkers and 45 percent of those who were alcohol dependent. We also found a risk for a high number of sexual partners among those with conduct disorder, independent of their level of alcohol involvement. And those with both alcohol dependence and conduct disorder were at greatest risk of having a high number of sex partners."

Cavazos-Rehg suggests when young people are treated for alcohol problems from inpatient treatment for alcohol dependence to emergency care following an alcohol-related car accident it might be a good idea to screen them for STDs or HIV infection and to discuss safe sex practices. Personnel at STD clinics also might want to ask patients about their alcohol use and provide referrals to alcohol-related treatment centers.

"Perhaps clinicians can work together to treat both problems," she says. "A better understanding of alcohol dependence and conduct disorder could become part of a comprehensive strategy for reducing the transmission of STDs and unintended pregnancies."


Contact: Jim Dryden
Washington University School of Medicine

Related medicine news :

1. Heavy Drinking Boosts Stroke Risk for Chinese Men
2. Good Cholesterol Wont Help Heavy-Drinking Older Men
3. Family history of alcoholism affects response to drug used to treat heavy drinking
4. Diabetes dilemma: older people with diabetes face a heavy burden from co-existing health conditions
5. Age, burden, divorce and heavy tea consumption are significant risk factors for erosive esophagitis
6. Katie Lee Joel to Conduct Cooking Demonstration for Local Patients With Chronic Kidney Disease
7. inVentiv Health to Announce Third Quarter Results and Conduct Conference Call on Wednesday, November 7, 2007
8. CareTech Solutions Executive to Conduct Presentation on Creating a Healthy Revenue Cycle at AHIMA Convention and Exhibit
9. Novel semiconductor structure bends light wrong way -- the right direction for many applications
10. Micromet Receives Regulatory Approval to Conduct a Phase 2 Clinical Trial Investigating MT103 (MEDI-538) in Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
11. Gene May Help Spur Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... 2015 , ... The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honors ... Year Circle. She is recognized with this prestigious distinction for leadership in estate sales ... more than 850,000 members and over 200 operating Local Chapters. , “I’m pleased to ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Live ... offer individual vision insurance plans on . The multi-carrier insurance exchange ... and review products, allowing consumers to compare, quote and match plans to meet ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... (Meso Foundation) released information for caregivers and held two webinars on topics of ... on demand free of charge at . , With a loved ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... Thermi™, a ... to announce that its ThermiRFR temperature controlled radiofrequency platform has received CE marking ... radiofrequency platform which uses temperature as a clinical endpoint. The technology has ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Fla. (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... opened the driverless vehicle experience this summer, ushering in a new era of ... percent driverless and electric shuttle, will continue to offer guests an up-close look ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015   Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG ... first MRI guided user interface and automatic scan parameter ... MR Conditional implants, such as knee and hip replacements, ... Society of North America Annual Meeting (RSNA) . The ... confidence of this growing patient population. ScanWise Implant adds ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... PUNE, India , November 30, ... --> --> ... deal trends for 2010 - 2015 ... activity for a range of deal ... (M&A) and strategic alliances. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Diagnostics, the U.S.-based manufacturer of point-of-care biometric testing devices ... systems, and PTS Detect™ cotinine systems, has announced the ... the company into the mHealth market. ... The technology is a system that interfaces with mobile ... and uses test strip technology already developed by PTS ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: