Suppression effects of partner type on the alcohol-risky sex relationship in young Irish adults.
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OBJECTIVE: The present study examined the link between alcohol consumption and condom use, testing whether partner type suppresses the effects of alcohol consumption on condom use. This study also sought to determine whether the effects of alcohol on condom use during casual sex remain after adjusting for condom-use intentions and planning or preparatory behaviors, such as having a condom available.
METHOD: A retrospective, cross-sectional study design was used. A subset of participants aged 19-30 years from the national Irish Study of Sexual Health and Relationships were recontacted (n = 388). Telephone interviews regarding participants' most recent sexual event in their normal social environment (i.e., not on holidays) were conducted (n = 362). Partnership type was defined as "just met," "casual," or "steady." Men comprised 51% of the sample. The mean age was 23.9 years.
RESULTS: Both alcohol consumption and condom use were more common in casual sexual events than steady sexual events. In addition, partnership type was found to suppress the effects of alcohol consumption on condom use, such that the relationship between alcohol consumption and condom use became significant and negative only after controlling for partner type. Furthermore, the negative effects of alcohol consumption on condom use during casual sex remained after adjusting for condom-use intentions and planning.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings illustrate the complexity of the relationship between alcohol consumption and condom use, highlighting the importance of contextual factors such as partner type. Furthermore, the effects of alcohol on condom use during casual sex cannot be explained by the fact that such events tend to be more spontaneous and less planned.