Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Health Promotion


Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management

First Advisor

Tabitha D. Flowers

Second Advisor

Martha Bass

Third Advisor

Sarahmona Przybyla

Relational Format



The purpose of this study was to compare college students' actual sexual behaviors and their perceptions of sexual behaviors among their peers. The analyses consisted of 65,036 participant's ages 18 to 24, with a mean age of 20.20 years (sdâ±1.55) who completed the American college health association's national college health assessment in 2008. The dependent variables were the normative gap of: number of partners, sexual activity, and condom usage. Three one-way anovas with bonferroni post hoc analyses were used to determine differences between the dependent variables and the following independent variables: age, sexual orientation, and living arrangement. Anovas were used to examine the dependent variables and the following independent variables: sex, race, and fraternity/sorority membership. The largest normative gaps across all three dependent variables were seen in: 18 year olds, female participants, minority participants, and those who were not members of fraternities/sororities. There were differences across the dependent variables in terms of sexual orientation with the largest normative gap on number of partners found among heterosexuals, for sexual activity the largest normative gap found among transgender, and for condom usage, the largest normative gap was found among gay and lesbian students. In terms of living arrangements, students living with parents had the largest normative gap on number of partners and sexual activity and students living in residence halls had the largest normative gap for condom usage. Results from this study suggest that each institution analyze sexual health behavior for their campus specifically in order to create programs appropriate for their student population.



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