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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The aim of this study was to document the prevalence of hook-ups in a sample of 1, urban, middle and high school students and to examine the relationship between hooking-up and a variety of problem behaviors, including, alcohol, cigarette, illicit drug use, truancy, and school suspensions. Hook-ups were correlated moderately with all problem behaviors examined. While an adult might use the term to refer to an informal meeting, most adolescents and young adults use the term to refer to an informal sexual encounter.
The purpose of this study was to document the prevalence of hook-up experiences and begin to examine their relationship with problem behaviors among metropolitan middle and high school students. As such, it is hypothesized that a ificant percentage of both middle and high school students will have engaged in a hook-up, with the prevalence likely increasing with age. It is unclear whether adolescents who engage in hook-up experiences are more likely to engage in other problem behaviors, such as substance use, truancy, and gambling. However, given the relationship between precocious sexual activity and problem behaviors e.
Hooking-up is distinct from casual sex in that the former refers to a wide variety of sexual behaviors e. The only study to investigate adolescent hook-up experiences Manning et al. This is an important finding that indicates for adolescents, hook-up experiences are much more likely to occur with someone who an adolescent knows well, as opposed to a stranger. While this study plays an imperative role in beginning to understand the prevalence and context of hook-up encounters, it represents only the portion of hook-ups that include sexual intercourse, and thus is not representative of all hook-up encounters.
More is known about the hook-up encounters experienced by college students. Three additional studies using smaller, convenience samples produced similar estimates Kahn et al. All four aforementioned studies provided a similar definition of hooking-up to participants, which included any form of sexual activity not limited to sexual intercourse, thereby reducing methodological variance across these estimates.
However, females were ificantly more likely to feel regretful or disappointed, while males were more likely to feel satisfied and proud. For men, the terrible experience was usually due to the woman wanting a relationship or the over use of substances during the encounter; none of the men indicated that they felt pressured to engage in more intimate sexual behaviors than they desired.
While the research on hook-up experiences among college students is useful, there are limitations to applying this body of literature to high school students because of important differences between these two groups. This context likely presents college students with unique opportunities, which may lead to different rates of hook-up experiences for these two age groups. The association between various adolescent risk behaviors e. Problem Behavior Theory provides a useful framework for understanding why these behaviors co-occur.
Individual, biological, behavioral, and personality factors interact with perceived and actual social environments to shape the underlying syndrome and subsequent problematic behaviors. Common causes to adolescent problem or risk behaviors include poor attachment to parents, school, or wider community; association with peers who exhibit high risk behaviors; lower levels of self esteem, self-efficacy, or psychological well-being; or experiences of physical or sexual abuse Hawkins, Catalano, Morrison, et al.
Research has provided conflicting information regarding whether the problem behavior syndrome is based on a single Ary et al. Despite these controversies, there is substantial empirical support for the existence of a problem behavior syndrome. The present study aims to document the prevalence of hook-ups among adolescents and to explore the relationship between hook-up experiences and adolescent problem behaviors. If engaging in hook-up encounters is associated with problem behaviors, then hook-up behaviors likely have a similar etiology to problem behaviors.
Moreover, engaging in one problem behavior increases exposure to peers who are involved in other types of problem behaviors, and thus, engaging in hook-ups may increase the likelihood of engaging in these other problem behaviors. Thus, knowing whether engaging in hook-up encounters is associated with problem behaviors would provide a context to understand factors contributing to, or resulting from, hook-up encounters.
In this study, we first document the frequency of hook-up encounters among adolescents and the locations in which such encounters occur. The study used a cross-sectional web-based self administered survey of students from a school district in southeastern Michigan; there was one middle school and one high school in the school district.
The university subject review board approved the protocols for this study and a Certificate of Confidentiality from NIH was obtained. All students enrolled in the 5th—12th grades were recruited to participate. All of the 2, students within the school district were contacted and 1, assented, received parental consent, and participated in the study, representing a Students and their parents were notified about the upcoming study in a letter sent from their school via U. Because most of the respondents were under 18 years of age, active parental consent was obtained for all minors who participated.
Students returned consent forms to their teachers, who in turn, gave the consent forms to the research team. Prior to the administration of the survey, parents were invited to view the survey via the web on their own or school computers.
The survey included questions that asked students about alcohol, tobacco, illicit and prescription drug use; academic performance; instances of interpersonal violence; and attitudes regarding racial tolerance. The survey was conducted over the Internet from computer labs at the respective schools. Students were excused from one class period in order to report to the computer lab for the survey session.
The school administrators scheduled survey sessions on a class-by-class basis over the data collection period, although make-up sessions were provided. Students were given a piece of paper with a unique pre-ased PIN s; these s allowed students access to the survey without any identifying information. Following the completion of the survey, students were provided with the contact information for school-based counseling services as well as community based organizations.
School officials and parents were unable to access any personally identifiable information connected with the data. Because of the numerous skip patterns, most students received a fraction of these questions and the surveys were completed in approximately 25 minutes. Students were not compensated for participation. Students in grades 5 and 6 were excluded from the analyses because they were not asked questions regarding sexual activities and hook-up encounters.
The sample was comprised of The remaining 2. Respondents were asked about basic demographic information, including gender, race, age, and grade level. The respondents were divided into two groups based on level of schooling, specifically, middle school i. While an extensive study of the psychometric properties have yet to be conducted, the questions used by Paul and colleagues represent the most extensively validated questions to date. The encounter is just a one-time event and may include just kissing or it may include other sexual activity.
As such, friends were included in the definition for the present study. Following the presentation of the definition, respondents were asked if they had ever had a hook-up with someone, and were given the following response options: 1 Never, 2 Yes, I have had a hook-up with one person, 3 Yes, I have had a hook-up with two people, 4 Yes, I have had a hook-up with three or more people, and 5 Rather not say.
Respondents also were asked about their lifetime alcohol use, defined as having more than just a few sips of beer, wine, wine coolers, or liquor. On how many occasions if any have you had alcohol to drink more than just a few sips in your lifetime? The response choices the same 8 choices as provided in the lifetime alcohol question. Finally, a summary variable was created by adding the 11 items together; thus, scores range from 0 to The remaining questions were all dichotomous i.
Then a summary variable ranging from 0—5 was created by summing the 5 items together. The respondents were asked about their regular school attendance and the types of discipline they have experienced at school. The first aim of this study was to document hook-up experiences in a sample of 7 th —12 th grade students Table 1. Of the respondents who reported having engaged in at least one hook-up experience, Bivariate analyses were used to examine whether hook-up experiences varied by sex, race, and grade.
There were no ethnic differences in the rate of hooking-up. The data were analyzed using bivariate analyses to determine whether the setting of the hook-up experience i. It was hypothesized that hook-up experiences would be related to other risk and problem behaviors.
Given that the frequency of hook-up experiences varied by grade levels, separate bivariate correlations were conducted for middle and high school students. Findings from this study indicate that hook-up encounters are all too common among adolescents in 7 th —12 th grade given the potential negative health ramifications associated with early sexual activity.
Such gender differences are consistent with research on other adolescent sexual behaviors that document a higher level of sexual activity for male youth when compared to female youth Grunbaum et al. While it is difficult to contrast our data to the Manning et al.
The large disparity in the rates between these two groups is not surprising given differences in the psychosocial and sexual development of secondary and college students. What is noteworthy is the step-like changes that occur as students progress from middle school to high school, and then from high school to college. In this study, the rate of hook-up encounters almost doubled from middle to high school.
Although clearly speculative, these findings suggest that distinctions in the social contexts and norms of middle school, high school, and college may play a role in the degree of popularity of the hook-up encounter for each of these environments. In this study, we found moderate relationships between hooking-up and other adolescent risk and problem behaviors examined, including cigarette, alcohol, drug use, gambling, truancy, and other disciplinary action by the school.
Such findings support the notion that engaging in hook-up encounters should be considered an expression of the problem behavior syndrome. Future research is needed to determine whether these factors contributing to problem behaviors also are predictive of engaging in hook-up encounters.
The notion that hook-up encounters may have both unique i. In their review of problem behavior literature published from through , Guilamo-Ramos et al. Furthermore, the correlations remain only moderately correlated even when two behaviors within the same domain are examined i. These data suggest the importance of studying unique determinants of problem behaviors, as well as common factors.
We would anticipate that there are factors contributing to hook-up encounters that are unrelated to other problem behaviors. One such factor may be changes in cultural norms about sexual activity that contribute to the unique variation in hook-up experiences. Research has demonstrated a decline in traditional forms of dating and has suggested that casual relationships have replaced traditional romantic relationships Denizet-Lewis, This trend toward more casual relationships appears to be coupled with cultural norms of sexual permissiveness.
This is particularly important given that the average child and teen watches approximately 5. Just as important, if not more, future research should examine the negative consequences of hook-up encounters, including sexual assault. research on college students indicates that sexual assault is a common negative hook-up experience for young women Kahn et al. Without a direct comparison of the rates of assault during hook-ups versus other social encounters, it is unclear whether hook-up encounters actually increase the rate of sexual assault or, for example, just mirror the rate of assault within committed relationships.
Several limitations of the present study must be acknowledged. First, the study relied solely on self-report data. As a result, the data are subject to errors in reporting. However, it is unlikely that data on hook-up experiences could be collected using another modality. Second, the psychometric properties of the hook-up questions have yet to be studied extensively and thus make our conclusions more tentative. Likewise, the study was limited in the range of delinquency variables included in the survey; these items only pertained to only to those activities taking place on school grounds and did not ask about the specific activities that led to suspensions and detentions.
Third, given the sensitive nature of the topic and the young age group, data regarding the specific type of sexual activity in which participants engaged during the hook-ups were not available. Fourth, information was not gathered regarding the risk and protective factors associated with hooking-up, nor the perceived or actual consequences of having engaged in a hook-up. Thus, it appears that if an adolescent engages in one problem behavior, the relative risk that he or she will engage in another problem behavior varies somewhat depending upon the specific problem behavior in question.
Despite these limitations, this study is one of the first to describe hook-up experiences among adolescents and to document their relationships with other problem behaviors. Future research is needed to determine risk and protective factors of hook-up encounters, particularly in terms of the unique and shared variance hooking-up may have with other adolescent problem behaviors.
Given the negative consequences associated with hook-up encounters among college students, future research needs to determine if such consequences also are present among adolescents. Amy M. Carol J. Courntey E. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. J Child Adolesc Subst Abuse.
Author manuscript; available in PMC Oct Young , PhD, Carol J. Boyd , PhD, and Courntey E. Fons , MS. Author information Copyright and information Disclaimer. Authors Fortunato and Fons have had their M. Please include updated degrees in the published article.
Copyright notice. See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Keywords: adolescence, problem behaviors, risk taking, sexual activity, hook-ups, alcohol use, drug use. Adolescent Problem Behaviors The association between various adolescent risk behaviors e. Method The study used a cross-sectional web-based self administered survey of students from a school district in southeastern Michigan; there was one middle school and one high school in the school district.
Measurement Demographic characteristics Respondents were asked about basic demographic information, including gender, race, age, and grade level. Table 1 Frequency of Hook-up Experiences among Adolescents. Open in a separate window.
Location 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Hookups - Smoking. Discussion Findings from this study indicate that hook-up encounters are all too common among adolescents in 7 th —12 th grade given the potential negative health ramifications associated with early sexual activity. College student development and academic life: Psychological, intellectual, social, and moral issues.Woman want casual sex Spray
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