|Are hookups just talk? Study says yes|
|Written by John Schuller, Daily Vidette Staff Writer|
|Wednesday, 21 September 2011 22:06|
A recent study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln took a look at how college students are hooking up.
Students that were involved in the study thought 90 percent of their fellow students were hooking up with two or more partners in one school year, where it was actually only 37 percent.
The “hookup,” or having sex outside of a relationship, was defined by the participants as “unplanned, inebriated sex,” and was found to be happening far less than students perceive. Of the 37 percent that are hooking up, there was found to be a difference in hooking up based on gender. Sixty-three percent of males said they had engaged in at least one hookup in the school year, while only 45 percent of females reported having one hookup, according to the study.
The study focused on how social networks and peer communication can lead to thinking of hooking up as the “norm.” The study found that people are talking frequently about hooking up with their friends, making it more likely to hookup, as well as thinking their fellow students are engaging in hookups as well.
By talking more frequently about hooking up, the students were lead to have a more positive attitude towards hooking up.
The study concluded that because it is normal to have a conversation with fellow students about hooking up, that it makes those who participate in hooking up believe the practice is more widespread amongst the student population.
This misperceived norm of hooking up does not only occur at the University of Nebraska’s campus, but at ISU as well. Jim Almeda, coordinator for the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness helps to conduct a yearly survey about a variety of health behaviors, including sexual health.
Among the data collected in the study, he was able to conclude a number of students that had two or more hookups at ISU was lower than at the University of Nebraska, at 32 percent.
“College students in general have a misperception that sexual activity is higher than it really is among college students,” Almeda said.
The study also found the hookups are frequently unplanned, which leads to high risk sexual activity. The study warns the unplanned nature of hooking up may lead to unnecessary risk on the part of the students.
Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director of Student Health Services, warns students of the increased risk of exposure to STI’s that hooking up with multiple partners can cause.
Swearingen also warns even when precautions are taken there is still risk in hooking up.
“Even using condoms does not prevent STI exposure 100 percent, though they do cut down the risk,” Swearingen said.
While the study proves there is not a large population of students hooking up, it does show how much peer approval can change the way that the student population perceives things. While the majority of students are not engaging in the perceived hookup norm, but do talk about it as if it was a norm, giving the rest of the population approval to conduct high-risk sexual behavior.