Alcohol-induced risky sexual behavior among socially anxious drinkers

Article


Terlecki, M., Richter, Ashley A., Neighbors, Clayton, Young, Chelsie M. and Buckner, Julia D. 2017. Alcohol-induced risky sexual behavior among socially anxious drinkers. Addiction Research & Theory.
AuthorsTerlecki, M., Richter, Ashley A., Neighbors, Clayton, Young, Chelsie M. and Buckner, Julia D.
Abstract

Heavy college drinking is associated with risky sexual behavior. It is therefore important to identify groups that are especially vulnerable to alcohol-influenced sexual risk (e.g., unplanned/unexpected sex). Undergraduates with elevated social anxiety represent one such vulnerable group given that social anxiety is associated with fear of intimacy and heavier drinking in intimate situations and situations with expected negative affect. Drinking to cope with negative affect induced by fear of intimacy might render socially anxious undergraduates vulnerable to risky sexual behavior, yet no known studies have examined this relationship. The current study tested whether social anxiety was related to alcohol-related sexual behaviors among current (past-month) drinking undergraduates (88.1% female; 77.6% non-Hispanic Caucasian) with higher (i.e., clinically elevated) social anxiety (HSA; n = 40) or lower (more normative) social anxiety (LSA; n = 94). Coping motives were examined as a moderator of the social anxiety-risky sexual behavior relationship. Gender was a covariate. HSA students reported more frequent alcohol-influenced sexual risk including regretted sexual situations, unprotected sex, sex with unwanted partners, unwanted sex, pressured/forced to have sex, and pressured someone to have sex. Coping motives significantly interacted with social anxiety group in the prediction of risky sexual behaviors except regretted sexual situations, such that HSA students with greater coping motives experienced more frequent sexual risk when drinking. Findings indicate that HSA students may be particularly vulnerable to risky sexual behaviors and suggest that coping motivated drinking may be an important target for therapeutic interventions geared toward reducing risky sexual behaviors among this high-risk population.

KeywordsRisky sexual behavior; social anxiety; drinking problems; alcohol; college drinking
JournalAddiction Research & Theory
ISSN1476-7392
1606-6359
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/16066359.2017.1306057
Publication dates
Print21 Apr 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited24 Apr 2017
Accepted09 Mar 2017
FunderNational Institute on Drug Abuse
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Addiction Research & Theory on 21/04/2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16066359.2017.1306057.
Page range1-7
LicenseAll rights reserved (under embargo)
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