Assessing the Relationship Between Impulsivity and Sexual Risk Behavior in College Students – UROP Symposium

Assessing the Relationship Between Impulsivity and Sexual Risk Behavior in College Students

Lauren Penrose

Research Mentor(s): Desiree Aleibar
Program: WAGSFP
Authors: Lauren Penrose, Desiree Aleibar, PhD Candidate, Craig Rodriguez-Seijas, PhD

Abstract

The relationship between impulsivity and subsequent risk-taking behaviors is a well-studied social psychological phenomenon. However, there remains a dearth in the literature concerning whether there is a relationship between impulsivity and sexual risk behavior specifically. In the present work, we sampled 661 undergraduate students from an online research sampling platform from September 2021 and June 2022. Participants indicated their sexual orientation and completed measures of impulsivity and sexual risk behavior. We found that although impulsivity positively predicted sexual risk behaviors among undergraduate students, sexual orientation did not moderate this relationship. We suspect that other factors (e.g., gender, age, race) might contribute to the relationship between impulsivity and sexual risk behavior. This work has broader implications for enriching our understanding of who is likely to engage in sexual risk behaviors and those most vulnerable as it concerns social identity.

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