Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Patrick S. Malone


The purpose of this study was to prospectively examine the relationship between substance use and risky among a nationally representative sample of adolescents longitudinally from the ages of 16 to 29. Using data collected for the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (N=8,984), we found the use of marijuana, alcohol, and cigarettes to be consistently associated, across these ages, with an increased probability of having engaged in sexual intercourse with a stranger. Marijuana was found to have the strongest association with risky sex across the years of the study, followed by cigarettes, then alcohol. The current study improves on previous findings by focusing on the global overlap of these behaviors, using a prospective, longitudinal design, and showing a consistent relationship between the use of alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes and risky sex behavior from middle adolescence through adulthood. These findings lend support to Zuckerman (1984) and others who believed problem behaviors were strongly associated because of personality traits such as sensation seeking, and they point to the need for the integration of prevention and intervention efforts across problem behaviors.


© 2014, Darren Todd Woodlief

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