Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Community Health Promotion (MS)

Degree Level



Health, Human Performance and Recreation


Kristen Jozkowski

Committee Member

Bart Hammig

Second Committee Member

Jean Henry

Third Committee Member

Anna Zajicek


College Students, Consent, Hooking Up, Sexual Decision-Making


Approximately three-fourths of young adults in college hook up at least once by their senior year (i.e., engage in a casual sexual encounter outside the context of a committed relationship). There are important gender differences which may inform how men and women conceptualize hooking up. Men and women may have different predictors of interest, expectations of sex, or attitudes toward sex. These gender differences are likely culturally constructed by the sexual double standard and traditional sexual scripts which project men to be the aggressive sexual initiators who want sex all the time, and women to be passive gatekeepers who desire sex only within an emotional relationship. However, these sexual roles and scripts may not hold true for all men and women.

In previous research, men have suggested that their level of interest in a potential partner (short-term verses long-term) is influenced by the amount of "respect" they have for their potential partner. In these preliminary findings, men report being more likely to have long-term interest in women who do not have sex with them on the first few encounters because it fosters respect. Additionally, men report they would not push women that they respect to have sex if they indicated refusal. Women realize this issue of respect and have learned to withhold certain sexual activity if they have long-term interest in the man. These levels of interest may influence how men negotiate sex which, in turn, influences consent cues.

Men's ability to interpret consent cues and disregard refusal based on levels of interest is a concept that has not been explored thoroughly in the literature, especially from the perspective of both genders. The current study will examine how levels of interest influence sexual decision-making in casual encounters by examining interview data previously collected in regard to consent negotiation, as well as by collecting additional open-ended narratives from college students to contribute to two separate manuscripts. Based on the gender differences in conceptualizations of hooking up, it is hypothesized that levels of interest will influence sexual decision-making differently by gender.