243312 Sports participation and substance use behaviors in U.S. adolescents

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bantu Gross, MA , Recreation & Leisure Studies, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Tyra Gross, MPH , Health Promotion & Behavior, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Mary Ukuku, MPH , College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Atlanta, GA
BACKGROUND: Adolescents' participation in organized sports results in several health benefits, however participation may contribute to negative risk-taking behaviors, such as substance use. Additionally, certain subgroups involved in sports appear to have a higher prevalence of substance use. OBJECTIVE: This study examines substance use behavior among adolescents who participated in sports teams (sport participants) in comparison to those who did not participate (nonparticipants). METHODS: A cross-sectional study design using 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data was conducted. Participants included a nationally representative sample of 16, 410 high school students. Chi-square analyses were conducted in SPSS to compare substance use behaviors of sport participants to nonparticipants. RESULTS: The prevalence of sports participation was higher among male than female students and higher among white than black or Hispanic students. Sport participants were less likely to report smoking cigarettes (p<.001), using marijuana (p=.01) and using cocaine (p=.016) in the past 30 days but more likely to report alcohol use (p=.004) and binge drinking (p<.001) in the past 30 days in comparison to nonparticipants. White students were more likely to avoid substance use than black and Hispanic participants CONCLUSION: Sports participants are more likely to use alcohol than their nonparticipant peers. Additional research is needed to examine the relationship between sports participation and substance use and the factors contributing to the health disparities in minority subgroups. It is important for school and community health professionals to educate youth about the ills of substance use regardless of sports participation.

Learning Areas:
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. List 3 substance use behaviors that sport participation protects against in youth. 2. Describe gender and racial/ethnic differences in substance use behaviors for sport participants. 3. Discuss implications for public health in addressing the issue of substance use among adolescents regardless of sports participation.

Keywords: Youth, Substance Abuse

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a PhD student in Recreation & Leisure Studies at the University of Georgia and have counseling experience with youth.
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.