Evaluating schizotypy and alcohol usage as predictors of increased engagement in risky sexual behaviors in an undergraduate sample

Megan L. Cartier, Thomas Dinzeo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The window of risk for developing a schizophrenia-spectrum disorder overlaps with young adulthood, a time of increased independence and self-sufficiency. Research suggests that this period is also associated with increased substance use and risky sexual encounters. The current study aimed to examine rates of alcohol usage and risky sexual behaviors in those demonstrating higher rates of schizotypy (i.e., risk indicator for schizophrenia). Data was collected at a midsized university in the Northeastern United States during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 academic years. A total of 385 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory psychology classes completed the study either in-person or online. The study consisted of questionnaires related to alcohol usage, rates of sexual risk behaviors, and schizotypal traits. Due to COVID-19 restrictions and the time period covered by the sexual risk measure (i.e., the last six months), the authors deemed it necessary to omit certain participants, leaving 179 participants in our main analyses. Participants who reported higher levels of alcohol usage and positive schizotypy demonstrated increased engagement in specific sexual risk behaviors, while higher levels of negative schizotypy may have acted as a protective factor against engagement in sexual risk. Descriptive data for participants collected during the pandemic period was provided for comparison and for the interest of future researchers looking at the pandemic period (n = 180). The current findings provide a snapshot (baseline rate) of sexual behavior and alcohol usage in a nonclinical sample with varying risk for psychosis that extends previous research involving clinical samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCurrent Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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