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Enhancement sex motives linked with heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences among female college students

A new study examined the relations between drinking motives and sex motives with multiple risky alcohol-related and sex-related outcomes (i.e., alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, alcohol consumption prior to sexual intercourse, number of sexual partners, and emergency contraception use). Participants (N = 436) were female undergraduate students attending a large, southwestern university. Participants completed a series of demographic questions and self-reported measures online, which included the following. Drinking motives, and sexual motives were measured using the Drinking Motives Questionnaire-Revised (DMQ-R) and the Sexual Motives Scale (SMS) respectively. Sexual behavior history was assessed using questions such as “Have you or your partner ever used ‘morning after’ pills or emergency contraception?” Lifetime and past-year alcohol-related problems were assessed using the Young Adult Alcohol Problems Screening Test (YAAPST). Lastly, alcohol consumption and associated problems were measured using the Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test (AUDIT). The authors used multiple structural equation models to examine univariate and multivariate associations among drinking and sex motives and specific outcomes. Results showed that enhancement sex motives were positively associated with consumption and alcohol-related consequences. On the other hand, intimacy motives were negatively associated with both consumption and consequences. Also, intimacy motives were negatively associated with alcohol use prior to sex. Furthermore, positive-reinforcement drinking motives were predictive of alcohol use, alcohol use prior to sex, and number of oral sex partners, while negative-reinforcement drinking motives were predictive of alcohol-related problems. In addition, partner type was significantly associated with all three drinking outcomes, and age was positively associated with all outcomes except for heavy episodic drinking.

Take away: This study found that greater endorsement of enhancement and less endorsement of intimacy sex motives was significantly associated with heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems, while alcohol motives were less reliably linked to sex-related outcomes.

Blanchard, B. E., Stevens, A. K., Acosta, I. S., Talley, A. E., Brown, J. L., & Littlefield, A. K. (2018). The influence of motives on alcohol-and sex-related behaviors among female college students. Drug and Alcohol Dependence

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