Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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Volume 21 Issue 6 (March 1991), Pages 433-523

The Influence of Observed Alcohol Consumption on Perceptions of Initiation of Sexual Activity in a College Dating Situation (pages 500-507)

Corcoran and Bell (1990) found differences between men and women's expectancies for the likelihood of sexual intercourse on a first date depending on how much the other had to drink. The present study examined the subjects' perceptions of likelihood of male and female initiation of sexual intercourse in a story in which the drinking of male or female characters was varied. Subjects read a story of a first date in which one character. either the male or female, consumed a couple of cocktails. The other character either “also had a couple of cocktails.”“drank soft drinks,” or “became slightly intoxicated.” A manipulation check showed that the subjects were responding to story variables in their ratings of characters intoxication. Men were perceived to be more likely than women to initiate intercourse across all drinking conditions, although results indicate that all subjects believed that sexual activity was more likely to be initiated when story characters consumed alcohol rather than soft drinks. These results further demonstrated that this expectancy for initiation of sex appears to be triggered by the presence of alcohol and did not significantly increase for a higher dose of alcohol. More research is necessary to clarify the role of alcohol in sexuality among adolescents and young adults.

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