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This study examined the relationship between sport participation on the one hand and smoking and the use of alcohol and drugs on the other among Icelandic youth 12- to 15 years of age. Two indicators of sport participation were employed; one measured its extent in formally organized sports clubs, while the other measured the extent to which the subjects were involved in sports regardless of whether they trained informally or with a formally organized sports club. Two random samples of 12- to 15-year-olds from the urban areas of southwest Iceland, comprising 456 and 358 subjects, were analyzed to determine if there was a negative correlation between sport participation and the measures of deviant behavior in question. However, 3 of the 12 relationships tested were not significant at the .05 level. The findings do not change significantly when gender, social class, and age are controlled. It is concluded that the findings give cross-cultural support to previous research results indicating a negative relationship between youth, sport participation, and the use of alcohol, drugs, and smoking.
Thorolfur Thorlindsson is with the Faculty of Social Science at the University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland.