Sociosexual attitudes, sociosexual behaviors, and alcohol use

William Corbin, Caitlin J. Scott, Teresa A. Treat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective: Prior studies have demonstrated an association between high-risk sexual behavior and alcohol use, and there is emerging evidence that dating status and sexual behavior are related to risk for subsequent alcohol use. However, relatively little is known regarding the specific attitudinal or behavioral indicators of alcohol-related risk associated with sexual behavior. The present study distinguished between sociosexual attitudes and sociosexual behaviors, two aspects of sexual risk that may contribute to individual differences in drinking behavior. The primary hypothesis was that sociosexual attitudes would indirectly contribute to heavier drinking through greater engagement in sociosexual behaviors. Method: Study hypotheses were tested using baseline data from an alcohol challenge study in a sample of young adult heavy drinkers (n = 211, 73.7% male). Participants completed surveys assessing typical drinking behavior and both sociosexual attitudes and sociosexual behaviors. Results: As hypothesized, sociosexual attitudes were indirectly related to heavier alcohol use through greater engagement in sociosexual behavior. However, the relation between sociosexual attitudes and sociosexual behaviors was stronger for men, as were the indirect effects of sociosexual attitudes on drinking behavior. Conclusions: Engagement in sociosexual behavior appears to be a risk factor for heavy alcohol use. This highlights the potential utility of targeted alcohol interventions in settings associated with sexual risk, including sexually transmitted infection clinics and college campuses. Future research should explore the mechanisms through which sociosexual behaviors contribute to drinking outcomes to further inform targeted alcohol interventions and to bolster protective factors among those who engage in sociosexual behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)629-637
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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