Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

"Everybody's Not Doing It: Misperceptions of the Prevalence of Recent Sexual Activity among College Students

Academic journal article Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport

"Everybody's Not Doing It: Misperceptions of the Prevalence of Recent Sexual Activity among College Students

Article excerpt

Randy M. Page and Michelle Roland, University of Idaho

The purpose of this study was to assess perceptions of campus norms for recent sexual activity, having more than four lifetime sexual partners, and decision to abstain from sexual intercourse and to determine whether personal behavior was related to these perceptions at a northwestern state university campus. Participants included 725 students enrolled in all 36 sections of a required English course who completed a survey questionnaire that elicited information about estimations of the prevalence of sexual activity among students on campus and self-reports of sexual activity. Perceptions of the prevalence of recent sexual activity and having more than four lifetime sexual partners exceeded the prevalence reported by sample members. Students holding the perception that "everybody's doing it" were found to clearly be at higher risk of being sexually active themselves. In fact, men who estimated that 75% or more of their male peers were sexually active were 11 times more likely to have had sexual intercourse in the past month than those estimating this to be true of less than one-fourth of men. …

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