Date of Award

5-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Psychology

Major Professor

Deborah P. Welsh

Committee Members

Clea McNeely, Dawn Szymanski, Denise Stillman

Abstract

Casual sex is often associated with young adulthood. Most research on the prevalence of casual sex has relied on college students and regional samples. The current study utilized the third wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which was collected in 2001-2002, to obtain nationally representative estimates of the prevalence of casual sex for young adults between the ages of 18-24. This study replicates Lyons and colleagues’ (2013) work on the associations between varying educational trajectories and young adult casual sex behavior, and moves beyond prior work by examining recent casual sex and recent casual oral sex participation. The results suggested that young adults with some college experience or a community college experience were more likely to report casual sex participation within the past 6 months, compared to young adults with a Bachelor’s degree or who were enrolled in a 4-year post-secondary institution. Contrary to Lyons et al.’s (2013) findings, the results also indicated an interaction effect between gender and education status, such that the differences between recent casual sex participation and education status were significant only for men. These results may be helpful for programs aimed at encouraging healthy sexual behavior to identify young adults groups who have the highest risk of casual sex partners.

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