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College students report several motives for alcohol consumption when engaging in hookups including: social enhancement, conformity, and coping with unwanted anxious emotions (Lobby et al., 2019). Research is currently mixed about how alcohol impacts sexual consent, and how emotions may drive these factors (Lobby et al., 2019; Marcantonio and Jozkowski, 2021). Socially-oriented anxious emotions, such as nervousness and insecurity, decrease when drinking alcohol in a social setting, and some college students report that alcohol consumption may be habitual prior to attending social events in order to relieve anxiety, a practice known as “pre-gaming” (Blumenthal et al., 2010). Additionally, alcohol consumption may be interpreted as a "cue" for consent by a prospective sexual partner, leading to decreased verbal consent (Blumenthal et al., 2010). Whether or not socially-oriented anxious emotions are a moderator for alcohol consumption's role in navigating consent in a hookup, or what role these emotions play in relation to alcohol consumption and sexual consent, are not well understood. The current study aims to examine the relationships between anxious emotions, level of alcohol consumption, and the ability to consent. Two surveys were released to a mid-sized northeastern university in 2020 and 2021. Participants (N = 453) completed online questionnaires using Qualtrics software. Researchers analyzed five questions from the survey related to anxious emotions, motivations for and levels of alcohol consumption, and perceptions of consent. Researchers analyzed the data using SPSS software, testing the relationships between alcohol consumption, consent, and anxious emotions. Results have implications for university sexual assault prevention and policy.



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Anxious Emotions Lead to Anxious Solutions? Examining the Relationships Between Emotions, Alcohol Consumption, and Consent