Alcohol Use among College Athletes: Do Intercollegiate, Club, or Intramural Student Athletes Drink Differently?
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BACKGROUND: Varsity student athletes are a high-risk drinking group, exhibiting a greater propensity to binge drink than their non-sport peers. Moreover, as intercollegiate athletic involvement increases, so too does alcohol consumption. There is little research, however, which examines drinking behaviors of students who participate in nonvarsity athletics. OBJECTIVES: Identify differences in alcohol-related behaviors and associated consequences among U.S. varsity, club, and intramural athletes, and nonathlete college students. METHODS: Secondary data analysis of the 2011 National College Health Assessment (n = 29,939). RESULTS: Intramural athletes binge drank more frequently (M = 1.1, SD = 1.7) than club athletes (M = 1.0, SD = 1.6), intercollegiate athletes (M = 0.9, SD = 1.5), and nonathletes (M = 0.6, SD = 1.3) and also experienced greater alcohol-related consequences. Intramural athletes consumed the most during their last drinking episode (M = 4.1, SD = 4.0) and reached the highest blood alcohol concentration (BAC) (M = 0.062, SD = 0.09).Compared to club and varsity athletes [M = 0.8, SD = 1.4; t (8,131) = -9.6, p < .001], intramural-only athletes reported binge drinking significantly more frequently (M = 1.2, SD = 1.7) and also reached significantly higher BACs during most recent drinking episode (M = 0.064, SD = 0.08) than organized sport athletes [M = 0.057, SD = 0.08; t (8,050) = -3.0, p = .003]. CONCLUSIONS: Intramural athletes represent a higher-risk drinking group than other athlete and nonathlete college students. Future research should investigate factors contributing to drinking differences among different athlete groups.
author list (cited authors)
Barry, A. E., Howell, S. M., Riplinger, A., & Piazza-Gardner, A. K.