A new study from the Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine has found a significant relationship between pre-college behavior and sexual hookups among freshmen students.

College is a turning point and a step into the right direction to achieve life goals. But with some poor decisions made during this crucial time, life's dream can be at stake. College generally means fun, new friends, exposure to a new world and freedom to do anything. What youngsters forget is freedom comes with consequences.

With the increasing trend of no-strings attached sexual hookups among college teens, researchers are delving into what encourages such behavior, particularly among freshmen year students.

"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," lead author Robyn L. Fielder, M.S., a research intern at the Miriam Hospital's Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine, said in a press release.

Lack of sexual education may lead to teen pregnancy and depression at a very early stage. Teen pregnancy is a growing national concern with far-reaching socio-economic costs. With several measures taken by the government, the teen pregnancy rate in the United States has declined by 42 percent from 1990 and 2008, says a latest analysis from The National Campaign.  According to a CDC report last year, child-bearing costs among teens have been approximately $10.9 billion each year.

For the study, Fielder and her colleagues interviewed 483 female students in their first year of college about their risk behavior, personality, and social environment. Researchers also asked questions that revealed students' sexual behavior, hookup attitudes and objectives, self-esteem, religious beliefs, parents' relationship status, alcohol and marijuana use, smoking, impulsivity and sensation-seeking behavior, according to the study.

Considering all possible factors, researchers narrowed down the most influential factors and behaviors to "pre-college hookups, personality, behavioral intentions, the social and situational context, family background and substance use patterns - particularly marijuana use" which resulted in hookups during freshmen year, Fielder said.

But students seemed more influenced by pre-college hookup behaviors for hooking up during first year of college and other factors including marijuana use trailed. Fielder noted that students must be guided correctly during this phase as it plays a very important role in shaping their future. Students must be made aware of sexual health and provided resources to help women make the right choices.

The findings are published online by the Archives of Sexual Behavior.