Category: X - Other - Not Fitting Better Elsewhere
Alcohol use and risky sexual behavior is prevalent on college campuses. Alcohol-related expectancies (i.e., beliefs one has regarding the cognitive and behavioral effects of alcohol) explain, in part, the association between alcohol use and risky sexual behavior (Brown et al., 2016). Specifically, college students perceive that alcohol relates to sexual activities through increases in sexual arousal and disinhibition (Lefkowitz et al., 2016). Recent research linked sexting (i.e., sending sexually explicit content via electronic methods; Drouin et al., 2013), to college students’ alcohol use (Dir et al., 2013). Based on prior research (Brown et al., 2016; Lefkowitz et al., 2016), the relation between alcohol use and sexting may be explained by beliefs that alcohol increases sexual drive and disinhibition; however, this hypothesis has yet to be tested. We hypothesized that alcohol use/problems would relate to sexting directly and indirectly through alcohol-sex expectancies.
We collected data from 423 undergraduate students (18-29 years; 65% female). The Alcohol Expectancies Regarding Sex, Aggression, and Sexual Vulnerability Questionnaire (AESASVQ; Abbey et al., 1999) assessed alcohol-sex expectancies and consists of four subscales (aggression, sexual affect, sexual drive, and vulnerability to sexual coercion). The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (Saunders et al., 1993) assessed alcohol use/problems. Two items used in prior research (i.e., sent a sext and requested a sext) assessed sexting in the past year (Temple et al., 2012).
Forty-nine percent of participants endorsed sending a sext and 40% endorsed requesting a sext. Multiple regression analyses examined the relation between alcohol use/problems and AESASVQ subscales, with the two sexting items as outcome variables. Results indicated that the sexual drive subscale significantly predicted each sexting item. We then examined sexual drive expectancies as a mediator of the relation between alcohol use/problems and sexting while controlling for gender. Sexual drive (B = .08, p < .001) fully mediated the relation between alcohol use and sending a sext (R2 = .09, F(3, 385) = 13.00, p < .001). Sexual drive (B = .07, p < .001) partially mediated the relation between alcohol use and requesting a sext; the effect of alcohol use was reduced when sexual drive was included in the model (from B = .08, p < .001 to B = .04, p = .037; R2 = .16, F(3, 385) = 22.84, p < .001).
Results indicate the relation between alcohol use and sexting may be explained by beliefs one has about alcohol’s effect on their sexual behavior. Future work should explore whether these relations generalize to other populations and should attempt to further understand the association between alcohol use and sexting.
Autumn Rae Florimbio– Graduate Student, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Meagan Brem– Graduate Research Assistant, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Caitlin Wolford-Clevenger– Graduate Student, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
JoAnna Elmquist– Graduate Student, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Hannah Grigorian– Graduate Research Assistant, University of Tennessee
Gregory Stuart– Professor, University of Tennessee