This research investigates the sexual behaviour and patterns of contraceptive use among seasonal workers temporarily employed at holiday centres in the south of England. Respondents were interviewed in depth at the beginning of the 1996 summer work season, and reinterviewed 5 months later toward the end of the season. This longitudinal methodology enabled changes in sexual behaviour and attitudes during the summer to be identified. The findings show marked changes in the social and sexual behaviour of seasonal workers when at a holiday centre, in particular an increase in the number of sexual partners, casual sex, and sexual risk-taking behaviour. Seasonal workers showed the same patterns of contraceptive use as those of young people in the general population. Indeed there was no change in their contraceptive behaviour while at the holiday centre even though, for many, their sexual behaviour had changed significantly. Young people working at a holiday centre for the first time were shown to be at greatest risk of experiencing unsafe sex. The evidence of sexual risk-taking has important social and health implications in locations which experience an annual influx of young people in seasonal employment.
International Journal of Sex Research (2000) 37 175-183