July 9, 2012
Multiple studies have shown that going on a trip with friends during spring break is a risk factor for behavior including dangerous drinking and sex. In a new article in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, Methodology Center Investigator Megan Patrick and coauthor Christine Lee examined data from 261 undergraduates and found that students had greater odds of engaging in risky sex when they possessed greater pre-spring break intentions to have sex, and when they had a stronger sense that sex on spring break is common among their peers. The authors also found that being on a trip on a given day is associated with more drinking and sex, controlling for the fact that people who go on shorter trips or no trip at all.
Research indicates that peer influences and intentions are strong predictors of future behaviors. Because of this, interventions to reduce risky behavior during spring break should be tailored according to participants’ intentions and perceived norms. The authors identified gender and previous behavior as other significant factors for tailoring an intervention. This study is part of a larger project in which Dr. Patrick is designing an intervention to prevent risky spring break behavior. She was recently awarded a Methodology Center pilot project to build a highly effective spring break intervention using the multiphase optimization strategy (MOST).
Patrick, M. E., & Lee, C. M. (2012) Daily behaviors in spring break alcohol and sexual behaviors based on intentions, perceived norms, and daily trip context. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73(4), 591-596. PMCID: PMC3364325
View full-text article at Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.