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Siobhan K. Fitzpatrick and Janine V. Olthuis

American student-athletes (SAs) are at heightened risk for hazardous alcohol consumption compared with their nonathlete peers. However, little is known about this risk or the influence of psychosocial predictors on drinking behavior among Canadian SAs. This study compared rates of alcohol use across Canadian SAs and nonathletes and investigated whether the use of athlete-specific psychosocial predictors can improve the prediction of alcohol use outcomes in SAs. Participants (179 varsity athletes and 366 nonathletes) completed anonymous self-report questionnaires. Results suggest that Canadian athletes are at a heightened risk for experiencing alcohol-related problems compared with nonathletes, with general psychosocial predictors explaining the majority of variance in SA alcohol use. However, and quite notably, athlete-specific positive reinforcement motives predicted SA binge drinking. This research provides some of the first evidence of drinking-related problems among Canadian SAs and supports the potential use of preventative efforts to help SAs develop safe strategies for alcohol use.

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Janine V. Olthuis, Byron L. Zamboanga, Matthew P. Martens, and Lindsay S. Ham

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.

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Byron L. Zamboanga, Nathan T. Kearns, Janine V. Olthuis, Heidemarie Blumenthal, and Renee M. Cloutier

Drinking games (DGs) participation is prevalent among college-attending emerging adults. Research also suggests that student-athletes play DGs more frequently than non student-athletes, but what motivates student-athletes to participate in DGs is not well understood. Using data from a larger longitudinal study with Division III female athletes, we examined the test-retest reliability and minimal detectable change of the revised 7-factor Motives for Playing Drinking Games (MPDG) measure, and explored how its subscales were related to DGs behavior across two annual timepoints (n = 49). Results indicated that the MPDG shows adequate test-retest reliability over a one year period among student-athletes. Controlling for age and general alcohol consumption, conformity motives were positively associated with DG consumption at timepoint 1, whereas the DG motives of enhancement/thrills and boredom were positively related to DG consumption at timepoint 2. Implications for future research directions on motives for playing DGs and DGs behavior among student-athletes are discussed.

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Janine V. Olthuis, Margo C. Watt, Christopher E. J. DeWolfe, Emma Connell, Emily N. Wright, and Laura Sevigny

Women, relative to men, are at particularly high risk for anxiety and depression, perhaps in part due to their heightened levels of anxiety sensitivity (AS). Physical activity (PA) is an accessible mental health intervention that may be particularly beneficial for women. Using a within-subjects pre-post mixed methods design, this study tested the acceptability, appropriateness, feasibility, and evidence-base of a community-based PA intervention for AS among women at high risk for anxiety and depression. Participants were 45 women with high AS who completed an 8-week group PA intervention. Data were collected via self-report questionnaires, interviews, and recruitment, participation, and retention rates. Results suggest the intervention is acceptable, appropriate, and feasible. Interviews reveal high intervention satisfaction and perceived benefits beyond AS reduction. There was a relatively high attrition rate that suggests room for improvement. The intervention significantly reduced AS, as well as panic, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and depression symptoms. In the context of the preliminary nature of this study, results suggest the use of community-delivered, group-based PA as a mental health intervention strategy for women is worth further exploration. There is potential for collaboration between the health system, PA delivery professionals, and community organizations to improve access to care.