Short-term mating orientation as a predictor of alcohol use and risky sexual behavior

Susanna V. Lopez, Jaimie Arona Krems, Delaney S. Dunn, Emily Warner, Thad R. Leffingwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Sexual Strategies Theory suggests people fall on a continuum between having short-term mating orientation (STMO) and long-term mating orientation. One way STMO individuals signal mating goals is via risky drinking. The current study therefore aims to investigate drinks per week (DPW) as a mediator between STMO and risky sexual behavior (RSB), with gender as a moderator between STMO and DPW. Participants: Undergraduate students (N = 300) from a Midwestern university during Fall 2019. Method: Participants completed questionnaires assessing STMO, DPW, and RSB frequency. Results: A moderated-mediation model indicated DPW significantly mediated the relationship between STMO and RSB. Positive associations were found among all three variables. Gender was not a moderator between STMO and DPW. Conclusions: Mating orientation was a correlate of alcohol use and RSB for women and men, contributing to the literature identifying STMO as an indicator of those in need of substance use and RSB intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1670-1675
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of American College Health
Issue number6
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Alcohol
  • college students
  • mating strategies
  • risky sexual behavior


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