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Diana M. Doumas, Rob Turrisi and Dale A. Wright

This study examined athletic status and adult attachment as risk factors for high-risk drinking in 249 freshmen. Results of hierarchical regression analyses indicated attachment avoidance was related positively to high-risk drinking for former high school and collegiate athletes, but related inversely to high-risk drinking for nonathletes. Further, athletes with high attachment avoidance reported the highest levels of heavy drinking and associated consequences. Findings suggest athletes with high attachment avoidance may use drinking as a coping strategy to manage discomfort associated with social situations and this strategy is likely an extension of patterns established in high school. Clinical implications include providing prevention programs for both high school and collegiate athletes, with an emphasis on targeting interpersonal avoidance and discomfort with relationships.