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The "Hook-Up" Culture on Catholic Campuses: A Review of the Literature

The "Hook-Up" Culture on Catholic Campuses: A Review of the Literature

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Published by: Center for the Study of Catholic Higher Ed on Jun 16, 2011
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The “Hook-Up” Culture on Catholic Campuses: A Review of the Literature
by Anne Hendershott, Ph.D. and Nicholas Dunn
June 2011
 A Policy Series Guided by the Principles of Ex corde Ecclesiae
About the Authors
Dr. Anne Hendershott is the 2010-2011 John Paul II Fellow in Student Developmentfor the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education. She served 15 yearsat the University of San Diego as director of urban studies and chair of the sociology department until 2008, when she moved to New York to become distinguished visit-ing professor of urban studies at King’s College. Her articles have appeared in
Te Wall Street Journal 
World Magazine 
National Review 
, and her books include
Status Envy:Te Politics of Catholic Higher Education
Te Politics of Abortion
 Moving for Work 
Te Reluctant Caregivers 
. Hendershott received her B.A. and M.S. degrees from CentralConnecticut State University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Kent State University.Nicholas Dunn has served as a research assistant to Dr. Hendershott for two years. He isa senior at Te King’s College in New York City, where he studies philosophy, politics andeconomics. He has written for
Human Life Review 
Catholic World Report 
and was aresearch intern at the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute at the United Nations.
Executive Summary
There is a growing body of data that points to a degradedstudent “hook-up” culture on many college campuses—includ-ing Catholic college campuses—marked by casual sexual activ-ity. This paper provides a systematic review of the social scienceliterature that has been published in the last twenty years on thedating and mating behavior of college students and assesses whatmany of these researchers have identified as the very real damagedone by the embrace of a hook-up culture.The findings are organized into four sections based on specificissues related to sexuality on campus. The first section defines thehook-up culture and identifies the extent of the problem of casualsexual behavior on college campuses. The second section consid-ers the psychological, spiritual and physical costs of such behav-ior. The third section considers the role of alcohol in encouragingand expanding the hook-up culture. The fourth section investi-gates the impact of campus polices and especially those who arehired to implement them. The paper concludes with a look at stu-dents who are taking the lead in promoting chastity and fidelity,and the authors make suggestions for additional research.
Rev. Richard Dufeld, Cong. Orat.
John Henry Cardinal Newman Distinguished Fellow
Anne B. Hendershott, Ph.D.
John Paul II Fellow in Student Development
Kimberly C. Shankman, Ph.D.
St. Thomas Aquinas Fellow in Academic Afairs
Rev. D. Paul Sullins, Ph.D.
St. Ignatius o Loyola Fellow in Catholic Identity
Ecclesiastical Advisor
Cardinal Raymond Burke, D.D., J.C.D.
Preect, Supreme Tribunal o the Apostolic Signatura
Advisory Board
 John P. Hittinger, Ph.D.
Proessor o Philosophy; Center or Thomistic StudiesUniversity o St. Thomas (Houston)
Rev. Leonard A. Kennedy, C.S.B., Ph.D.
Former President, Assumption College,Univ. o Windsor; and St. Thomas MoreCollege, Univ. o Saskatchewan
Rev. Joseph W. Koterski, S.J., Ph.D.
Associate Proessor o Philosophy,Fordham University
Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, S.T.D.
Vice President or Catholic Identity and Mission,Mount St. Mary’s University
Hon. Kenneth D. Whitehead
Former Assistant Secretary or PostsecondaryEducation, U.S. Department o Education
Cardinal Newman SocietyExecutive Staf 
Patrick J. Reilly
President and CEO
Thomas W. Mead
Executive Vice President
9415 West StreetManassas, Virginia 20110703-367-0333
The “Hook-Up” Culture on Catholic Campuses: A Review of the Literature 
by Anne Hendershott, Ph.D. and Nicholas Dunn 
June 2011Copyright © 2008 - 2011 The Cardinal Newman Society. All Rights Reserved.Permission to reprint is hereby granted provided no modications are made to the text and it is identied asa product of The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, The Cardinal Newman Society orboth.Note: the views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education or The Cardinal Newman Society.This paper is available online at The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education’s website,www.CatholicHigherEd.org
 About The Center
The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education (CACHE), a division of the nonprot CardinalNewman Society, advises and assists academic and religious leaders in efforts to strengthen the Catholicidentity and academic quality of Catholic colleges and universities.
3The “Hook-Up” Culture on Catholic Campuses: A Review of the Literatureby Anne Hendershott and Nicholas Dunn
he dynamics surrounding intimate relationships among Catholic college students isof special concern to Catholic families and educators, because these relationshipsoften and eventually lead to marriage. The Catholic Church teaches that marriageis instituted and ordained by God as the union of one man with one woman, and thatsexual behavior is reserved for marriage. This review of social science literature considerswhether the student culture on Catholic college and university campuses reinforces theseteachings and facilitates the pathway from healthy intimate relationships to marriage.Throughout history, our society has provided ways to encourage “pair bonding”through providing opportunity situations. Historically, colleges and universities—espe-cially Catholic colleges and universities—believed that they needed to play an active rolein helping their students find happiness and meaningful relationships with those of theopposite sex during their years on campus. Providing what sociologists call “opportunitysituations” used to play an important role in the student life on most college campuses, because at one time the adults leading these schools recognized how important it is thatyoung people meet each other, fall in love, and form families.Until the 1980s, most colleges and universities—secular as well as sectarian—believed itwas their duty to offer opportunity situations including dances, clubs and other recreation-al activities, designed to help their students create and maintain healthy and satisfyingintimate relationships. Even single-sex Catholic colleges used to arrange school-sponsoredand supervised dances (often called “mixers”) with neighboring schools to facilitate theopportunity for those at the all-male school to meet those from the all-female school. Col-lege administrators used to believe that they needed to take care of their students—bothacademically and socially. But, as most Catholic colleges moved from single-sex to co-educational in the 1970s and 80s, the perceived need for such “mixers” disappeared.Today, it appears that many student life administrators have moved from a pro-activerole in helping to facilitate healthy pair bonding to a reactive role in helping to pick up thepieces and repairing the very real damages when a degraded campus culture of casual sexemerges. The conventional wisdom is that students are best left to their own devices inmeeting and mating. This paper finds significant consequences for both the individual andthe institution.A damage assessmentDuring the past decade, there has been a growing body of literature examining the dat-ing attitudes, values and behavior of contemporary college students. An emerging numberof scholars are conducting research which examines how young people meet, mate and de-cide to marry. There is a growing body of data that points to a degraded student culture onmany college campuses—including Catholic college campuses (Bogle, 2008; Freitas, 2008;Burdette, Ellison, Hill and Glenn, 2009). This paper provides a systematic review of the re-search literature identifying the culture and examining the very real damage that has beendone by abandoning the
in loco parentis
role that colleges and universities used to play in
The “Hook-Up” Culture on Catholic Campuses: A Review of the Literature

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