Can we generalise to other young people from studies of sexual risk behaviour among university students?

de Visser, Richard, Smith, Anthony and Richters, Juliet (2005) Can we generalise to other young people from studies of sexual risk behaviour among university students? Australian & New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 29 (5). pp. 436-441. ISSN 1326-0200

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Abstract

Objective: Many studies of sexual behaviour and condom use are based on data collected from university students. The aim of this paper is to determine whether first-year university students and their same-age peers have different patterns of sexual behaviour.

Methods: Computer-assisted telephone interviews were completed by a representative sample of 19,307 Australian men and women aged 16–59 years (response rate 73.1%), 920 of whom were aged 17–19 years. Comparisons were made between reports of sexual risk behaviours from first-year university students and reports of the same behaviours from their same-age peers.

Results: For female respondents, there were few differences in the sexual behaviour of first-year university students and their same-aged peers. For male respondents, there were some significant differences in the sexual behaviour of first-year university students and their same-aged peers and also different patterns of correlation between measures of sexual behaviour. Socio-demographic characteristics were related to whether 17–19 year-old respondents were first-year university students or engaged in other activities.

Conclusions: The findings of studies of the sexual behaviour of university undergraduates should only be generalised to other groups with caution. The sociodemographic characteristics of the student population of a particular institution must be taken into account before generalisation to the broader population can safely be made from studies of single universities.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Depositing User: Richard deVisser
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:45
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2012 11:57
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/14245
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