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Teenagers attending college less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior
Date:6/5/2008

udy showed that:
  • 23 percent of the college students reported inconsistent condom use compared to 35 percent of the non-college subjects.
  • 15 percent of the college students engaged in casual sex vs. 29 percent of the others.
  • 5 percent of the college students had high-risk sex vs. 16 percent of the others.
  • 53 percent of the college students engaged in sex in the previous month vs. 70 percent of the others.

The finding that living at home did not confer defense against risky sexual behavior was unexpected.

"It was surprising to us that there wasn't a protective effect of living at home for risky sexual behavior," said Bailey. "Overall, adolescents who live with parents are less likely to be sexually active, but those who are having sex are just as likely to engage in risky sexual behavior.

"Generally what students do six months after graduation is what they did in high school. The kids who were doing risky sexual behavior in high school are continuing to do it. And the kids who were engaging in that behavior in high school generally are less likely to go to college," she said.

While the study focused on the differences between college and non-college attendees, data showed drug and alcohol use in high school was an important contributor to risky sexual behavior. Those who used drugs, alcohol or marijuana in high school were six times as likely to engage in casual sex and four times as likely to engage in high-risk sex behavior as non-users. Bailey said the findings emphasize the need for continuing efforts for HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention programs in high school and beyond.

"We need these programs because those people who are reporting more risky sexual behavior are those who are at the highest risk for sexually transmitted diseases. There is an easy way to reach the kids who go to college and there are all kinds of resources there for them," she said.

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Contact: Joel Schwarz
joels@u.washington.edu
206-543-2580
University of Washington
Source:Eurekalert

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