Research indicates that those participating in sport consume alcohol more frequently and at higher quantities than their non-sporting peers. The highest levels of alcohol consumption have been found in university student sportspeople; however, the reasons for such elevated alcohol use are unclear and there has been little research in this area outside US institutions. Moreover, research seems to be predominantly problem-focused and may therefore be unlikely to afford a wider understanding of the role alcohol plays in the lives of many sportspeople. There is a particular paucity of research examining the positive social and psychological outcomes of alcohol consumption in sport participants. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by exploring the relationship between social cohesion, identity, self-reported happiness and student sportspeople’s drinking. Questionnaires containing validated measures for alcohol consumption, happiness, importance of sporting identity and drinking for team cohesion were used to collect data from 243 university sportspeople (females =145, 60%). Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that age, happiness and team cohesion were significant predictors of alcohol consumption, whereas sporting identity did not contribute significantly to the regression model. Further mediation analyses found that the relationship between happiness and alcohol consumption was mediated by team cohesion.
Zhou, J., O'Brien, K. S., & Heim, D. (2013). Alcohol consumption in sportspeople: The role of social cohesion, identity and happiness. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 49(3/4), 278-293. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690213493105