Researchers examine condom use among college women
College students are notorious for experimentation, which, unfortunately, sometimes means inconsistent condom use. As a result, a team of scientists from Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine conducted a study to determine factors that may contribute to unsafe sex.
In this trial, the researchers only looked at women, surveying about 279 college freshmen. The participants provided monthly reports on their condom use, as well as other factors, such as academic performance, substance use, parents' education level and religious beliefs.
"We know unprotected sex puts women at greater risk for unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, yet there has been a gap in research specifically focusing on changes in condom use during women's college years," said lead author Jennifer Walsh, Ph.D. "Identifying the demographic and behavioral changes associated with decreases in condom use can eventually lead to more targeted educational and intervention efforts."
Authors of the study discovered that females who were most likely to practice condom use inconsistently came from a poor socioeconomic background, had lower high school grade point averages and were more likely to use drugs and alcohol, when compared to their counterparts who regularly used condoms properly.
More surprisingly, the researchers found that African American women and females who did not smoke marijuana were less likely than the average college student to use condoms.
The scientists noted that condom use had a tendency to decline further into the women's first year of college.
Results of this study suggest that college women are in need of education on the risks associated with unprotected sex. Additionally, the findings indicate that there may be a need for increased STD testing efforts on college campuses.