- Research finds cannabis is one of the main causes of girls having casual sex during their first year of university
- Previous sexual encounters and a student’s upbringing also influenced their promiscuity
By Nicola Rowe
US researchers discovered that smoking cannabis was one of the main factors in determining whether female first year university students indulge in casual, ‘no-strings’ sexual encounters
Girls are more likely to sleep around at university if they smoke cannabis, according to a new study.
American researchers set out to discover if some students are more likely than others to ‘hook up’.
They discovered that smoking cannabis was one of the main factors determining whether first-year, female university students took part in casual, ‘no-strings’ sexual relationships.
Lead author Robyn Fielder, from The Miriam Hospital’s Centres for Behavioural and Preventive Medicine in Rhode Island, surveyed 483 incoming first-year female university students about their risk behaviours, personality traits and social environment.
Specific questions covered the students’ sexual behaviour and their attitudes towards sex.
They also discussed the students’ self-esteem, religious beliefs, parents’ relationship status, alcohol and cannabis use, smoking, impulsivity and sensation-seeking behaviour.
Researchers re-interviewed the women monthly for eight months.
Fielder said: ‘Our findings suggest hooking up during the first year of college is influenced by marijuana use.’
The study is believed to be the first to explore cannabis use as a reason why students took part in casual sexual relationships.
However, students who had sex before coming to university were the most likely to have sex during their first year, according to the study, suggesting early sexual experiences provide a ‘personal model for future behaviour.’
Researchers said: ‘Our findings suggest hooking up during the first year of college is influenced by pre-college hook-ups, personality, behavioural intentions, the social and situational context, family background and substance use patterns – particularly marijuana use’
UK UNIVERSITY DRUG CULTURE
In 2012 1400 students across ten different UK universities were polled to reveal what the drug-taking culture among students was really like.
54% had tried some form of illegal drugs and
79% of people had their first drug experience before coming to university.
Since being at university, students reported having taken cocaine (24%), ecstasy (39%), ketamine (16%), cannabis (77%), amphetamines (8%), mushrooms (9%), mephedrone or ‘meow meow’ (18%) and legal highs (17%).
Fielder add: ‘These findings suggest that women’s hook-up behaviour during the first year of college may influence their hook-up behaviour later in college.
‘That’s why the transition to college is an important time for health care professionals to provide sexual health information and resources to help women make informed choices.’
‘Given the potential for negative emotional and physical health outcomes as a result of sexual hook-ups, including unplanned pregnancy and depression, it is important to identify the factors that influence hook-up behaviour.’
However, she said it’s also important to consider the array of individual, social and contextual factors when studying hook-up behaviour.
She added: ‘Focusing on any one area of influence fails to capture the complicated matrix of forces that influence young adults’ relationship decisions.’
Pre-college hook-ups, personality, behavioural intentions, the social and situational context and family background were also given as determining factors.
The findings were published online by the Archives of Sexual Behaviour.