Publication Date

2013

Degree Granted

Ph.D.

Institution Granting Degree

Walden University

Keywords

Sexually Transmitted Infections, STI, Risk Factors, College-Aged Students, STI Prevention, Contraceptive Use, Alcohol and STIs

Disciplines

Clinical Epidemiology | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Epidemiology | Medicine and Health | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion

Abstract

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) could cause ectopic, cervical cancer, infertility, and organ damage to the heart, kidneys, and brain. This study compared several behavioral risk factors of STIs (condom use, number of sexual partners, type of sex (anal or vaginal) and drinking habits) between two distinct educational settings and their association with socioeconomic risk factors such as low income and parent’s lower level of education that are known to increase the incidence of STIs among college-aged students. This study was based on the precautionary-health-behavior model, where individuals act regardless of consequences, and the health-behavior-change model, where individual behaviors either increase one’s risk of contracting or preventing an STI. A total of 238 participants responded with 139 from each institution. Data were analyzed using chi-square, and linear and logistic regression analysis to determine which educational setting has more STI behavioral risk factors and if there is a greater risk of students with lower socioeconomic status (SES) reporting these behavioral risk factors.

The study concluded that students enrolled in a 4-year university are not more likely to report STI behavioral risk factors than students enrolled at a 2 year community college. However, the study did show that students with SES factors of low income and parents with lower levels of education is related to a higher risk of reporting an increased risk of noncondom use, a higher number of sexual partners, anal and vaginal sex, and at risk drinking habits associated with STIs. Implications for positive social change include increased awareness of STI among college-aged students which can lead to lower STI incidence rates regardless if it is a 2-year college or a 4 year university.