The study required the formulation of three hypotheses. The first hypothesis to be tested was the irregularity of condom use and sexual meetings under the influence of alcohol. The second hypothesis to be tested was the irregularity of condom use being negatively linked to positive hedonistic outcome expectations and positively linked with romantic association. The third hypothesis was that sexual encounters under the influence of alcohol would be positively linked with anxiety of HIV/AIDS and not linked with romantic association.
The participants used in the study were selected from a random sample group of African Americans and Latinos. This selection was based on the higher rate of infection among these groups especially for those aged between 17 to 19 years. Although 839 students were contacted, only a small proportion (434) responded. The study involved an analysis of the academic background of the parents of the sample subjects. The study found that academic background and upbringing are not necessarily the cause of the high infection rates.
Most of the studies in the past only depended on cross-sectional research. This study used longitudinal research to establish changes within person and between person associations. This study provides more statistical tests on the issue of risky behavior under the influence of alcohol. Additionally, from the study it was evident that certain beliefs of individuals concerning condom use can be changed to promote safe sex.
The strength in the research of this study is mainly in the use of time-varying covariates, which were used to generate separate approximations of within-person and between person associations. Furthermore, the study utilizes the longitudinal research approach to conduct the study, which is more applicable to lifespan issues in developmental psychology.
A major limitation to the study was that the sample selected did not represent a proportion of emerging adults in the United States. The sample only used African Americans and Latinos. To be much more applicable the study could have included students from other races to make it more generalizable. Further, the study only focused on the heterosexual relationships thus may not be applicable for homosexuals.
The research work presented in this article is both valuable and informative. This is because longitudinal research on the issue of risky sexual behavior is limited and this article adds to relevant literature by analyzing within person and between person associations. Based on the findings of the study, better preventative measures can be developed for college students and other at risk young adults. Furthermore, it is quite evident that risky behaviors contribute significantly towards sexually transmitted infections and this may necessitate the increase in use of school-based screening (Aral and Douglas, 2008).
Aral, S. O., & Douglas, J. M. (2008). Behavioral interventions for prevention and control of sexually transmitted diseases. New York: Springer.
Lam, C., & Lefkowitz, E. (2013). Risky Sexual Behaviors in Emerging Adults: Longitudinal Changes and Within-Person Variations. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 42(4), 523-532.