Date of Award

Winter 2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

James M. Henson

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Miguel Padilla

Abstract

Hook up behaviors are sexual behaviors that participants engage in consensually without the expectation of a romantic commitment, and occur frequently in the college context and often co-occur with binge drinking. Research indicates several factors (i.e., alcohol intoxication, type of sexual behavior, specific motives for hooking up, gender) are predictors of negative emotions associated with hook up experiences, such as regret, shame, confusion, and disappointment. Using hooking up as a coping mechanism coupled with experiencing negative emotions due to hook up experiences are associated with aspects of poor mental health such as depression and anxiety. Therefore, the present sought: (1) to examine the relationship between hooking up to cope and negative affect about the most recent hook up experience, (2) to examine the influence of alcohol intoxication on negative affect about the most recent hook up experience, (3) to examine how gender might moderate the effect of the type of sexual behavior on the degree of negative affect for the most recent hookup behavior, and (4) to examine how the relationship between hooking up to cope and negative affect might change based on alcohol use, type of sexual behavior, and gender. Participants were 474 (72% female) uncommitted, heterosexual undergraduate students with at least one hook up in the past 12 months. Findings revealed a positive association between hooking up to cope and negative affect about the most recent hook up experience and that moderate to extreme intoxication moderated that association. Compared to women, males reported lower negative affect about the most recent hook up experience. Clinical implications include targeting binge drinking and coping hook up motives as methods for reducing negative emotions related to hook up experiences for men and women. Future research should investigate the mechanisms involved in the relationship between hooking up to cope, risky sexual behaviors, and negative mental health symptoms.

DOI

10.25777/0khv-rb74

ISBN

9780438989481

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