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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Risky behaviors on the college campus: Are women an overlooked at-risk group?

Susan Radius, PhD, CHES, Donna Cox, PhD, and Mia Ko, PhD, CHES. Health Science Department, Towson University, 141 Burdick Hall, Towson, MD 21252, 410-704-4216, sradius@towson.edu

Purpose: This study identified differences between incoming male and female college students to better understand females' disposition toward and involvement in alcohol/ drug-related behaviors. Significance: Females are often overlooked in studies of students' drug/alcohol- related behaviors. It is therefore timely to examine whether these young women understand their unique risks as well as outcomes of their behaviors. With such data, critical health education deficits can be identified and programs designed to meet these students' needs. Methods: The nationally recognized CORE survey was distributed to entering AY05 freshmen. The tool taps self-reported behaviors (use of alcohol, tobacco, etc.) as well as perceived peer behaviors, campus policies, and other personal risks. Multivariate analyses were used to understand females' perceptions of risky behaviors, outcomes and campus prevention efforts. Results: Of 1349 respondents (61% female, mean age = 18), females were equivalent to males in their desire for alcohol at parties, report of hangovers, and related sequellae. Females, however, described riskier campus life in terms of alcohol and tobacco use. That risk partnered with females' troubling lesser awareness of campus drug/alcohol prevention programs (p<.05). Females differed also in social settings for their use. Among other significant findings, females exceeded males in attributing poor academic performance and involvement in social confrontations to drinking (p<.05). Conclusions: Not only college men engage in risky behaviors. Female peers represent an underserved population with unique alcohol/drug-related risks. Gender-specific interventions merit renewed attention to enable females' personal preparedness in areas of alcohol/drug-related risk taking.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

    Keywords: Risky Behaviors, College Students

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    Not Answered

    Issues Pertaining to College Health

    The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA