199399 Sports participation and alcohol-related risk behaviors in a national, multi-wave sample of adolescents

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 1:00 PM

Darren Mays, MPH , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Lara DePadilla, MS , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Michael Windle, PhD , Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta, GA
Introduction: Sports participation, while offering numerous benefits for adolescents, has been associated with alcohol use among adolescents in past research. Yet, the relationship between sports participation and alcohol use among adolescents remains unclear. Few studies have examined behaviors beyond alcohol consumption, such as the negative consequences resulting from alcohol use, and there is limited evidence regarding whether sports participation influences alcohol-related behaviors over time. Objective: This study investigated the relationship between school-based sports participation and alcohol-related behaviors using data from a multi-wave, national study of adolescents. Methods: Publicly-available departmental data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (AddHealth) were used. Latent Growth Modeling (LGM) was applied to examine whether sports participation predicted initial levels of problem alcohol use (PAU) and growth in PAU over three waves of data collection in a sample of 3,844 adolescents. Sports participation, assessed at wave one, was treated as a time-invariant predictor. PAU was assessed at each of the three waves. Analyses accommodated the complex survey design using the suggested strata, cluster, and weight variables. Conclusions: Initial LGMs suggest that, taking into account other time-invariant covariates including demographics, participation in other school-based activities, and other predictors of alcohol use (peer drinking, parental monitoring, parental alcoholism), greater involvement in sports during adolescence is a significant positive predictor of increasing PAU over time. Given that the majority of US adolescents are involved in sports, sports may represent an important context for interventions to prevent alcohol use during adolescence and the development of PAU later in life.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe existing research on the relationship between alcohol-related behaviors and sports participation among adolescents. 2. Explicate the observed relationship between sports participation during adolescence and increasing levels of problem alcohol use over time. 3. Discuss how sports may represent an important context for interventions among adolescents seeking to prevent alcohol use and consequences of alcohol use during adolescence later in life.

Keywords: Adolescents, Alcohol Problems

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD candidate at Emory University with ongoing research in the area of adolescent health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.