An Evaluation of Strategies Developed to Prevent Substance Abuse among Student-Athletes

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Robert J. Marcello Virginia Commonwealth University

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Steven J. Danish Virginia Commonwealth University

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Arnold L. Stolberg Virginia Commonwealth University

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Substance abuse by the collegiate athlete has become a major concern. Drug testing programs are viewed as one method of combatting this problem; however, more emphasis should be placed upon developing effective drug prevention programs. The current study addresses this need by (a) designing a multifocused prevention program specifically for student-athletes based on the previous literature, (b) evaluating its overall effectiveness as well as that of its individual components, and (c) identifying factors associated with preintervention usage patterns of student-athletes for the purpose of guiding future program development efforts. Although 110 student-athletes indicated a willingness to participate in the study, only 58 completed the assessment packet. These 58 were randomly assigned to intervention and control conditions. Few differences were found between the treatment and control groups. Perhaps the most important finding was that social-environmental factors and pro-usage attitudes were related to previous patterns of alcohol, drug, and tobacco use prior to the student-athlete’s arrival at college. Results are discussed in terms of their impact upon future program development and evaluation.

The authors are with the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284-2018.

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