Assessing the Impact of Social Media on the Risky Sexual Behaviors of College Students

Courtney Monique Bryant, Montelee' Chavious, John C. Heath, Vivian L. Carter

Abstract


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to contribute to assessing the impact of social media on the risky sexual behaviors of college students. The study focuses on identify the association between social networking media and risky sexual behavior related images among college students. Hypothesis: Individuals ages 15-24 comprise approximately half of the 19 million new Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) infections yearly in the United States (Fulton, Marcus, & Payne, 2010). One contributing factor to these statistics is Risky Sexual Behavior (RSB) among youth, which is any behavior that increases the probability of unintended health consequences such as STD’s and unplanned pregnancy. This study explores the possible association between social media and RSB behaviors, such as alcohol use and sexual promiscuity. It is hypothesized that social networking media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have a strong correlation with risky sexual behavior related images in comparison to non-social media outlets such as Books and Newspapers. Research Methodology: The research design is a convenience sampling of undergraduate college students from Tuskegee University randomly selected to engage in a matching-to-sample experiment using Super Lab Pro 5.0. Results: A pilot study yields the preliminary results that indicate only certain social networking media have a stronger association with RSB related images than non-social networking media. All social networking media are more associated with RSB related images than all non-social networking media with the exception of Radio and Television. Facebook and Instagram are less associated with RSB related images than Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube. Conclusion: The findings of this study will contribute statistical data analysis supporting the notion that social networking sites influence RSB in college students. Future studies may focus on measuring the associations pointed out, how to reduce the media content that influence RSB on social networking sites, or how to use social networking sites to reduce RSB in college students.


Keywords


Social Media; Risky Sexual Behaviors; Students

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