Chapter 7: Alcohol use, gender and high risk sexual behaviour among undergraduates by Leonard C. Onwukwe, Nkwarn C. Uwaoma & Ann U. Madukwe


Alcohol use and its influence on high risk sexual behavior has been explored by researchers (Kaiser family foundation, 2002; O’Hare, 2005; Thompson et al., 2005; Abbey et al., 2006; Amoateng, Sabiti & Narayanan, 2007; Olisah, et al., 2009). However, most of these studies were conducted in western societies especially Europe and America. There is paucity of studies from sub-Saharan African countries especially Nigeria.
Two prominent theories depict alcohol as a cause of disinhibited social behaviors: alcohol myopia and expectancy theories. Steele & Josephs (1990) have proposed that alcohol creates what amounts to a cognitive shortsightedness, or alcohol myopia, with regards to the consequences of an individual’s actions while under its influence. intoxicated individuals are less capable of attending to most situational cues just as they display a reduced ability to “process and extract meaning ” from those cues that are perceived. Simple and highly salient cues (e.g., sexual arousal) continue to be processed, whereas more distal, complex ones related to the possible negative consequences of such actions (for example, fear of pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease) are no longer adequately processed. They might be so removed from the situation as to nullify their capacity to forestall the decision to have intercourse. Consequently, alcohol creates a “myopia” in which incompletely processed aspects of immediate experience exert undue influence on behaviour and emotion. The model also suggests that alcohol is most likely to have its impact when inhibition conflict is present. inhibition conflict occurs when a specific behaviour is at once impelled by certain situational cues and inhibited by others (Velez-Blasini, 2008; Cooper, 2006).