ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – College students who arrange with friends to “get their backs” are less likely to engage in risky spring break behavior, according to a new study.
The University of Michigan study, published this month in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, says about 60 percent of more than 650 college freshmen surveyed reported having an understanding with their friends about using alcohol during spring break.
Nearly 24 percent agreed with friends that they would get drunk and 18 percent agreed with friends not to get drunk. More than half the students said they had no understandings with friends about sexual behavior, while about 16 percent said they had agreed with friends to use a condom if they had sex.
Men were significantly more likely than women to have understandings with friends to engage in risky behavior. For instance, more men than women reported having understandings that they would get drunk on break (29 percent of men compared to 18 percent of women), and four times as many men as women reported that they had an agreement with friends to have sex with someone new (9 percent compared 2 percent).
“It’s important to encourage young people to talk with their friends about being safe during spring break,” said developmental psychologist Megan Patrick. “Agreeing that they won’t drink too much or have unprotected sex may have an important protective effect. It’s also important to talk about looking out for each other in case someone does drink too much.”