Social Influences, Alcohol Expectancies, and Hazardous Alcohol Use Among College Athletes

in Journal of Clinical Sport Psychology
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Research has shown that college student-athletes are at increased risk for hazardous alcohol use. As such, this study examined social and cognitive influences on athletes’ alcohol consumption by exploring the association between injunctive norms (parental, teammate, and coach approval) and hazardous alcohol use among college athletes, and testing whether alcohol expectancy outcomes and valuations would mediate this association. College student-athletes (n = 301; mean age = 19.4, SD = 1.3) completed self-report questionnaires assessing their drinking behaviors and perceptions of alcohol use in their social environment. Structural equation modeling revealed, in all but one case, a direct association between each of the injunctive norms variables and hazardous alcohol use. In addition, negative expectancy valuations mediated the association between teammate approval and hazardous alcohol use. Injunctive norms emerged as an important factor in student-athletes’ alcohol use. Implications for alcohol intervention programming among student-athletes are discussed.

Janine V. Olthuis is with the Department of Psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Byron Zamboanga is with the Department of Psychology at Smith College in Northampton, MA. Matthew Martens completed work for this project while in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Research at the University of Memphis, TN. Dr. Martens is now with the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. Lindsay Ham is with the Department of Psychology at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR.