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SPORTS WILL KEEP EM OUT OF TROUBLE: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SUBSTANCE USE AMONG ADOLESCENTS AND YOUNG ADULTS

 

ABSTRACT

 

Objective: The purpose of this research is to examine cigarette, alcohol, marijuana, steroids, and other drug use among high school and college students in the state of Delaware. This builds on previous research examining the dynamics of substance use and sports participation.

Methods: The data come from the Delaware High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS-HS) and the College Risk Behaviors Study (CRBS), which are used to compare athletes and non-athletes. There were 7,781 high school students from the YRBS-HS and 4,019 college students from the CRBS in the sample.

Results: Findings indicate that participants in team sports at the college level are significantly more likely to use alcohol and engage in binge drinking when compared to those who do not participate in team sports, but this effect is not found in most pre-college grades and other substances use rates are similar. High school athletes are significantly less likely to use cigarettes when compared to their non-athlete peers.

Conclusion: These results suggest that those who participate in team sports are more likely to drink alcohol and engage in binge drinking at the high school and university level, especially males who participate in team sports at the university level. Second, efforts to construct meaningful comparison groups, a practice that has been underemployed when examining the relationship between sports participation and substance use, reveal a more complex picture about the relationship between substance use and participation in team sports.

 

KEY WORDS

 Substance Use; Bonding Theory; Adolescence; Drugs; Alcohol; Youth Behavior

 
Journal of Sport and Health Research - 2009