Safe Sexual Behavior on Private and Public College Campuses

Faculty Sponsor

Matthew Ringenberg


Arts and Sciences


Social Work

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-4-2017


Aim of study: The purpose of this study is to examine safe sex behaviors at private universities compared to public universities.


Null: Students on private college campuses will use the same degree of safe sexual behaviors as their counterparts on public college campuses.

Research: Students on private college campuses will engage in safer sexual behaviors than their counterparts on public college campuses.

Background Information: Studies about safe sex have occurred on individual campuses ranging from public institutions, private institutions (Davidson & Moore 2008), and commuter campuses (Prince, & Bernard (1998). While this information can help provide a guideline and understanding on individual cases, it does not provide adequate information on a college comparison. Currently, no direct studies have examined a safe sexual behavior comparison between private and public institutions.

What other studies have found: Prince, & Bernard found that unsafe sexual practices occur on non-traditional campuses and traditional campuses just as frequently (1998).

Unanswered Questions: It’s possible that a religious affiliation or faith background will have an effect on choices of sexual behavior. As sexual behavior can be tied to religious morals and values, this could create an extraneous variable in our study. Another unanswered question is what constitutes “unsafe sexual behavior.” Textbook definitions of safe sexual behavior includes condom usage with oral sexual activity. While this is considered safe sex, others may think unprotected oral sex is a safe sexual behavior. This study asks subjects' definitions of “safe sex.” This was included to see if that is a predictor of preventing unsafe sexual behavior.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

James Meyer, Marcy Kiger, and Autumn McCormick have been interested in the well-being and health of the students on campus. As social work majors, they have a duty to help all people, and this was a topic that interested them. James and Autumn are both transfer students, and they have had different experiences with how issues surrounding safe sex are dealt with. James personally has had some experiences with the party culture on campuses both public and private, and wanted to see if there was a comparison between them. As a group, they took this project on because it was interesting and could help them adjust the programs at Valparaiso if they are ineffective on unsafe sex related issues.

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