Ever wonder what makes some college students more likely to hook up compared to others? Researchers from The Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventative Medicine claim they have associated certain behaviors with a woman's likelihood to engage in casual, no-strings-attached sexual encounters.

"Focusing on any one area of influence fails to capture the complicated matrix of forces that influence young adults' relationship decisions," said lead author Robyn L. Fielder, M.S., a research intern at Miriam Hospital.

The research team led by Fielder interviewed 483 incoming female college freshmen each month for a period of eight months. Participants were asked a range of questions dealing with their own sexual behavior, their personal attitude towards "hooking up," alcohol and drug use, religious beliefs, self-esteem, and high-risk behaviors.

Out of all the possible behavioral outcomes, researchers found that each woman's probability of having previously engaged in a loose sexual encounter before college was the looming indicator in their analysis. Marijuana's adverse effect on judgment and inhibition was also a telltale sign.

"Our findings suggest hooking up during the first year of college is influenced by pre-college hookups, personality, behavioral intentions, the social and situational context, family background and substance use patterns — particularly marijuana use," explained Fielder.

"These findings suggest that women's hookup behavior during the first year of college may influence their hookup behavior later in college. That's why the transition to college is an important time for health care professionals to provide sexual health information and resources to help women make informed choices."

Research presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association dealt with college students losing respect for peers who hook up too much. The findings of this analysis suggested that 48 percent of college student are likely to judge both men and women who have a long list of sexual partners.

"Given the potential for negative emotional and physical health outcomes as a result of sexual hookups, including unplanned pregnancy and depression, it is important to identify the factors that influence hookup behavior," Fielder concluded.