The Effects of Practice Start Times on Athlete Drinking Behavior
Student-athletes represent a high-risk sub-population on college campuses for alcohol misuse. In contrast to their non-athlete peers, student-athletes have a number restrictions placed on their time. The drinking culture of student-athletes differs from that of other college students with the student-athletes reporting higher levels of binge drinking, heavier drinking, and more drinking related injuries despite having more preventative educational programs available to them (Nelson & Wechsler, 2009). Moreover, research indicates that these alcohol consumption practices vary across type of sport (e.g., football, volleyball, swimming). However, it is unknown if the daily schedule of these sports impacts the patterns of alcohol consumption on these teams. The current study seeks to examine the drinking habits of student-athletes changes as a function of mandatory practice time (i.e., each team has standard practices at different times of day). The results could better help athletic departments schedule practices with the intention of increasing the health and wellbeing of their athletes. Data is being collected through an anonymous online survey using the Qualtrics program. Email invitations were sent and participants were entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card. The study is being conducted at a midsized mid-Western university. The results of the survey are currently being analyzed, but is expected that sports that have earlier practice start times will have a decreased use of alcohol when compared to that of sports with practice later in the day.
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