ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, STRESS, EMOTIONALITY AND AGGRESSIVITY - FACTORS THAT MAY INFLUENCE IRRATIONAL ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AND RISKY SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
Authors: Mihaela LUNGU, Elena Lucreția NEACȘU, Cornelia RADA
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Objectives. This literature review aimed to reveal the relationship between psychological factors such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotionality and aggression on the one hand, and irrational alcohol consumption and risky sexual activity on the other hand, in students (19-25 years) and adjacent age groups.
Material and methods. The study was conducted by analyzing the literature published between 2010 and 2020. The search was conducted in Romanian and English, in 9 international publications, by the following key phrases and terms, separately or in combination: anxiety, depression, stress, emotionality, aggressiveness, alcohol consumption, drinking motives, binge drinking, sexual behavior, risky sex.
Results. Applying repeated exclusion criteria, 31 articles remained in the analysis. Among these, risk behaviors were rarely analyzed in connection with psychological factors. Most studies that investigate risky behaviors regarding alcohol consumption and sexual activity, address them according to gender, educational level, age groups. Women were more prone to anxiety and depression, but also to show more psychological aggression compared to men who showed more physical aggression, even in sexual activity. Researches included aggression as a behavioral trait, and emotionality has been used as a variable in studies to validate standardized tools. Irrational alcohol consumption has been significantly associated with risky sexual activity and various forms of aggression.
Conclusions. The risk of manifesting and developing depressive and anxiety symptoms is higher in victims of aggression, in people with risky sexual activity, and in consumers of irrational alcohol. In students and young people, stress has high values, contributing to the tendency towards risky behaviors. It is necessary to promote successful coping strategies and mechanisms, both in individual and group level, as well as the development of prevention strategies and therapeutic procedures to improve the listed risk behaviors.