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Mexican descent college student risky sexual behaviors and alcohol use: The role of general and cultural-based coping with discrimination

Discrimination is a topic of interest and concern among minority groups. This issue may become compounded when on a college campus. It is also important to understand how this discrimination may impact college student’s coping strategies as it relates to risky sexual behavior and alcohol use throughout the campus culture. This study looks to see if there is any correlation between discrimination and these factors in Mexican descent college students.

To complete this study, researchers collected data from 796 Mexican descent emerging adults from September 2016 to May 2017. To analyze the data, linear regressions were used. This means that the researchers looked at the variables which include, discrimination, general and cultural coping strategies, risky sexual behaviors, and alcohol use, to find correlations between them. They were trying to find if risky sexual behaviors and alcohol use had any correlation to discrimination or cultural and general coping strategies.

What they discovered was higher discrimination experiences were not necessarily associated with risky sexual behavior or alcohol use. They did find, however, that ethnicity-based coping was highly corelated to relationships between the experiences of discrimination and the participants risky sexual behaviors and alcohol use. This information becomes important when exploring ethnic identity and how it is used in the relationship between discrimination, risky sexual behaviors, and alcohol use. By knowing these coping skills, mental health providers can better help students understand how to deal with the potentially risky behaviors.

Take Away: Discrimination and how it impacts minorities on a college campus is an important topic of study. This research specifically looks at 796 Mexican descent emerging adults and their coping strategies, risky sexual behavior, alcohol use, and discrimination experiences. What they found was higher discrimination experiences were not associated with risky sexual behavior or alcohol use. However, ethnicity-based coping had a large impact on relationships between experiences of discriminations and the participants risky sexual behaviors and alcohol use. This information is important for mental health care providers to best help students undergoing discrimination handle these risky behaviors when they are put in certain situations.

Piña-Watson, B., Cox, K., & Neduvelil, A. (2019). Mexican descent college student risky sexual behaviors and alcohol use: The role of general and cultural based coping with discrimination. Journal of American College Health, 1–8. doi: 10.1080/07448481.219.1656214

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