Simultaneous Alcohol and Cannabis Use and High-Risk Sexual Behaviors
Background: Alcohol and cannabis use rates are highest in college-aged young adults, and both alcohol and cannabis use are independently related to high-risk sexual behaviors (HRSBs). HRSBs (e.g., sex without protection against sexually transmitted infections) are a prevalent public health problem in college students, with little research examining simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use (i.e., using both alcohol and cannabis at the same time so the effects overlap) and HRSBs. Method: We examined simultaneous alcohol and cannabis-related HRSB frequency, gender differences in simultaneous alcohol and cannabis-related HRSBs, and differences in HRSBs between simultaneous and non-simultaneous users. Alcohol and cannabis using college students (N = 534; Average Age = 19; 66.9% reported identifying as female) were recruited through a psychology department’s human subjects research pool and completed a one-time, online, self-report survey. Results: One-third of participants engaged in simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use prior to sexual intercourse in the past 3 months. Additionally, over one-third of participants reported heavy drinking (4/5 or more drinks for women/men) simultaneously with cannabis use prior to sexual intercourse in the past 3 months. Simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use was significantly and positively related to sexual intercourse after simultaneous use and after heavy drinking simultaneously with cannabis use. Past year simultaneous alcohol and cannabis users, relative to non-simultaneous users, reported increased incidents of sex without protection against sexually transmitted infections. No gender differences in simultaneous alcohol and cannabis-related HRSBs were found. Conclusions: Future research should continue examining simultaneous alcohol and cannabis use and HRSBs.
Copyright (c) 2023 Haley Kolp, Sarah Horvath, Emily Munoz, Jane Metrik, Ryan C. Shorey
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