Profiles of motivations for alcohol use and sexual behavior among first-year university students

Megan E. Patrick, Jennifer L. Maggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


The links between motivations for alcohol use and for sexual behaviors are not well understood. Latent profile analysis was used to identify drinking motivational profiles (based on motivations for: fun/social, relaxation/coping, image, sex; motivations against: physical, behavioral) and sex motivational profiles (motivations for: enhancement, intimacy, coping; motivations against: not ready, health, values) among college students (N= 227, 51% male). Latent profiles for drinking were: low for/high against drinking (34%), average drinking motives (53%), and high for/low against drinking (13%). Profiles for sex were: low for/high against sex (35%), high for/low against sex (42%), and high for with coping/moderate against sex (23%). Motivational profiles were related across behaviors. Drinking motivational profiles were associated with alcohol use and psychosocial adjustment; sex motivational profiles were associated with sexual experiences. Distinct profiles of motivations support the need for differentiated intervention programs targeting individuals with different patterns of reasons for engaging in risk behaviors during late adolescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-765
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research project was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism to J. Maggs (R01 AA016016) and M. Patrick (F31 AA017014, F32 AA017806).


  • Alcohol use
  • College students
  • Latent profile analysis
  • Motivation
  • Sexual behavior


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