Alcohol intoxication and sexual risk intentions: Exploring cultural factors among heavy drinking women

Danielle R. Eakins, Elizabeth C. Neilson, Cynthia A. Stappenbeck, Hong V. Nguyen, Kelly Cue Davis, William H. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI) rates are the highest of the last 20 years, with people of color and women particularly affected. Ongoing research has identified risk factors (e.g., alcohol intoxication) and protective factors (e.g., risk perception) for sexual risk behaviors, such as inconsistent condom use. Depending on behavioral norms within a group, ethnic identity (EI) – the exploration and sense of belonging to one's ethnicity – may be a risk or protective factor. This study examined the relations between EI, alcohol intoxication, and STI risk perception on sexual risk intentions among women of color (WOC) and white women (WW). Methods: Cisgender women (N = 390; 35% WOC; 65% WW) completed measures and were randomly assigned to an alcohol condition (0.10% BrAC vs control). They projected themselves into an eroticized scenario and self-reported two aspects of STI risk perception (personal, partner) and two sexual risk behaviors (condomless sex intentions, condom decision abdication intentions). Results: Path analysis indicated that intoxicated women endorsed higher sexual risk intentions compared to women in the control group. Personal STI risk perception was negatively associated with sexual risk intentions. Indirect effects indicated that race was indirectly associated with both indicators of sexual risk, such that WOC reported higher perceived personal STI risk and subsequently endorsed lower sexual risk intentions compared to WW. Surprisingly, EI was associated with higher perceived partner risk for WW only. Conclusions: Prevention initiatives that address STI risk perception, condom assertion behaviors, and alcohol may be effective for mitigating women's sexual risk behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107314
JournalAddictive Behaviors
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Alcohol
  • Condom decision abdication
  • Ethnic identity
  • Sexual risk intentions
  • Sexually transmitted infections

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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