Relationship between Sexual Risk Behaviors and Alcohol and Substance Use in Adolescents

Relationship between Sexual Risk Behaviors and Alcohol and Substance Use in Adolescents


The largest population in the world, is presently comprised of youths. They make up approximately 60% of the world population. Both underdeveloped and developed countries experience high unemployment rates. Often, unemployment is accompanied by criminal and evil activities. Majority of the youths in countries throughout the world, especially those in Africa and South America are not employed. As a result, they often participate in activities like risky sexual behaviors, drugs and substance abuse. Research indicates drug abuse among youths contributes to and leads to increased risky, global behaviors among the youths (Nutt et al, 2007). It is these activities that lead to numerous problems like teenage pregnancies, STDs or HIV/AIDS.

Questions on the possibility of the problems indicated above arising have been raised. Without question, when youth’s abuse drugs like cocaine, heroin and bhang among others, their mental capacities are interfered with. In the process, they can experience hallucinations. As such, it is in instances like these that the youth end up being ignorant and they participate in irresponsible sexual behavior. Majority disregard use of protection like contraceptives and condoms. There should be individuals responsible for the increasing drugs abuse and resultant risky sexual behavior seen among the youth. To start with, parents should bare the blame for such occurrences. Research about the relationship between alcohol, risky sexual behavior and abuse of substance in adolescents have been carried out in various nations across the world. This is as evidenced in YRBS, a research conducted in social and educational institutions in Alaska.

This research paper will delve deeper on this topic of Relationship between Sexual Risk Behaviors and Alcohol and Substance Use in Adolescents

Literature Review

Similar research was carried out by M.Lynne Cooper on relationship between sexually risky behavior and substance abuse in adolescents. Her focus was evaluating the empirical associations between risky sexual behaviors and drinking. She applied random sampling in her research. She discovered that substance abuse results to the youths having numerous casual partners. Without question, when someone has several sexual partners, the probability of them engaging in irresponsible sexual behavior after alcohol drinking is high. She also discovered that the youths fail to use protection such as condoms after drinking alcohol. She made the conclusion efforts are supposed to be put into place in order to decrease risky sexual behavior cases (Lynne, 2002).

Research on the issue was carried out by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance in the US in 2003. The research was carried out by CDC and evaluated HIV infection rate, unhealthy dietary behaviors, physical inactivity and overweight. The organization carried out random sampling of children in institutions of education and interviewed them. What is more, a national school based survey was carried out by CDC as well. The research also concluded that the youths used condoms rarely during sexual intercourse after consumption of alcohol. It was also revealed that risky behaviors among young people were initiated during adolescence (Europe PubMed, 2004).

Similar researchers were conducted by Robert Garofalo, Cameron and others. Their focus was examining association of sexual orientation and the resulting risky health behaviors among school going youths. The research conducted was done by taking samples of students in colleges and high schools. Questionnaires were issued to students as well. The research also found out several youths engaged in multiple substance use and they ended up participating in risky behaviors like irresponsible sex and suicides. The research made the conclusion by suggesting educational programs, services and efforts, especially regarding health, should be put in place in order to address problems faced by the youths.

Sexual activity is an issue of great concern among young people as discussed above. Susan et al 2001 also carried out a similar research on the issue. She used different methods in the course of her study. To start with, she used questionnaires to assess the involvement of children in sexual behaviors. She also carried out random sampling, as the number of young people available during the research as high. She found out the young people engaged in sexual activity at a tender age. Besides, she also found they used substances that made them have a high number of sexual partners which in turn increased their chances of getting involved in sexual behaviors that were irresponsible. Also, she out there was less consistency in use of condoms among children. What is more, there was also a high prevalence of HIV infection. All these aspects were attributed to the high rate of substance abuse among young people. She made the conclusion that the youths should be educated on possible risks of substance abuse as well as risky sexual behavior (Susan et al, 2011). The final research which is similar on the association of risky behavior and sexual violence as well as specific health risks like risky sexual behavior was done by Jay Silverman. His focus was assessing prevalence of sexual violence among adolescents as well as the relationship of sexual violence and specific health risks like sexual behavior. He sampled a couple of female youths whom he interviewed regarding the same. He found out one in every 5 girls goes through sexual abuse by physical partner and often, this is influenced by drugs. He made the conclusion by saying sexual violence is high among the youths and measures or steps need to be taken in order to reduce abuse of substance among young people in order to get rid of sexual violence (Jay et al, 2011).

Research Hypotheses

H 1- Substance abuse causes intentional and unintentional injuries among youths

H 2- Substance abuse influences physical activity among young people

H 3-Risky sexual behaviors cause teenage pregnancies and HIV infections

H 4-Alcohol leads to risky sexual behavior among the youth

Hypothesis 1 Hypothesis 2 Hypothesis 3 Hypothesis 4 Hypothesis 5
Null ü
Alternative ü ü ü ü
Directional/NonDirectional Directional Directional Directional Non-directional Directional
I.V Substance Abuse Substance abuse Risky Sexual Behavior Substance Abuse Alcohol
I.V item no 1 1 2 1 3
IV item level of measurement Interval-ratio Interval-ratio Interval-ratio Interval-ratio Interval-ratio
Recording IV item No No No No No
DV Injuries Physical Activity Teenage pregnancies Dietary behaviors Sexual behaviors
DV item no 1 2 3 4 5
DV level of measurement Interval-ratio Interval-ratio Interval-ratio Interval-ratio Interval-ratio
Recording DV item No No No No No


The YRBS conducted the research by focusing on prevalence of behaviors young people face. The research used varying methods. Firstly, the YRBS conducted survey of high school students. Secondly, because of the large number of students, random sampling was used in the course of the research. Thirdly, questionnaire were issued to students to get important and relevant information.

Sample Characteristics

Considering responses from students, it was found the prevalence of substance abuse and risky sexual behaviors was high among those aged between 15 to 25 years of age. It also confirmed that majority of the male youths and students were also involved in abuse of substance making them highly affected by risky sexual behaviors. It was also discovered that substance abuse affected school grades of majority of students. Risky sexual behaviors was also found to be on the rise since no steps were taken to reduce risks. Alcohol was also confirmed to be a major force behind irresponsible sexual behavior. It was as well confirmed substance abuse and sexual behaviors were factors leading to physical inactivity, teenage pregnancies, poor dietary behaviors and physical inactivity.


Europe PubMed Central (2004). Youth risk behavior surveillance–United States, 2003.

Available online at:;jsessionid=cJtD9rb8x8TKyEIbGfaH.54

Jay G, Anita R, Lorelei A & Jeanne E (2001). “Dating Violence Against Adolescent Girls and

Associated Substance Use, Unhealthy Weight Control, Sexual Risk Behavior, Pregnancy, and Suicidality” Available online at:

Lynne Cooper (2002). “Alcohol Use and Risky Sexual Behavior among College Students and

Youth: Evaluating the Evidence”. Available online at:

Nutt, D; King, L; Saulsbury, W. & Blakemore, C (2007). “Development of a rational scale to

assess the harm of drugs of potential misuse”. The Lancet 369 (9566): 1047–1053.

Susan T, Gregory A, Georganne R & Sandra A (2001). Adolescent substance use and sexual risk

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