Sexual sensation seeking, compulsivity, and HIV risk behaviors in college students

  • Gullette D
  • Lyons M
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The purpose of this descriptive and correlational study was to understand the role of sexual compulsivity, sensation seeking, and alcohol use as mediators of HIV risk behaviors among college students. College students (n = 256) completed an online survey in 2003. Instruments included the Sexual Compulsivity Scale (SCS), Sexual Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS), and the College Alcohol Problem Scale (CAPS). Men scored higher on the SSS and SCS than women. Women who belong to Greek organizations reported significantly more personal problems, including depression and low self-esteem, after consuming alcohol than women who were not members of Greek organizations. Four predictor variables associated with HIV risk behaviors were age, high score on SSS and CAPS, but a low score on SCS. The personality dispositions of sexual sensation seeking and compulsivity among college students may need to be explored in other college settings, to determine if these traits are related to HIV risk taking behaviors. Interventions to help women better cope with the effects of alcohol and self-esteem issues may be beneficial.

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  • Donna L. Gullette

  • Margaret A. Lyons

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