Asian and Pacific Islanders; College students; Sexual behavior; Risk reduction


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | Health and Physical Education | Immune System Diseases | Public Health | Virus Diseases


The model minority stereotype describes Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) as the epitome of assimilation into U.S. culture using hard work, intelligence, high educational attainment, and economic success to overcome the challenges of discrimination and recent immigration. Adopted model minority pressures assume a life of their own, with origins in childhood that are amplified during adolescence and young adulthood. In response to evidence of increased vulnerability to HIV and other sexually transmitted infection exposure, the present study compared prevalence estimates of health risk behaviors of API and cross-ethnic college students (N = 1,880). Self-reported alcohol use and abuse tendencies, legal and illicit drug use, abuse and misuse, as well as HIV- and other STI-related sexual risk were compared. Results of independent samples t-tests revealed that API displayed greater risk for alcohol use, abuse, dependence, and negative outcomes related to use. After controlling for differences in the 90-day prevalence of sexual activity, Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel and chi-square analyses indicated significantly greater behavioral risks for infection among API. API males were nearly twice as likely as their cross-ethnic peers to engage in insertive oral and anal sex without a condom to the point of ejaculation. While reporting fewer risks compared to their male counterparts, API females were significantly more likely than their cross-ethnic peers to engage in behaviors which may enhance exposure to infection. Such findings suggest a shrinking cultural divide with regard to risk behaviors on college campuses, as well as a lack of perceived HIV and other sexually transmitted infection risk among API students. As universities continue to foster cultures of diversity, the unique experiences and prevention-based needs of API students must be addressed.