Research & Resources

A Longitudinal Examination of Relations Between Competitive Athletic Participation, Drinking Norms, Impulsivity, and Sensation Seeking and Binge Drinking Throughout College

Researchers examined athletic participation, high-risk personality traits (i.e., impulsivity, sensation seeking), and perceptions of peer drinking behavior as predictors of binge drinking from prior to college entry through 2 years post college. Using data from a sample of 2,245 college students, researchers found that early participation in competitive athletics was associated with a higher risk of binge drinking, even when accounting for social and personality factors. Specifically, binge drinking increased through the first 3 years of college before leveling off and decreasing post college. Sensation seeking and perceptions of peer drinking behavior predicted concurrent drinking in year 4 of college, and impulsivity emerged as an additional predictor. Sensation seeking emerged as a significant predictor of greater post college binge drinking. Athletic participation in year 4 of college indicated no significant risk for greater binge drinking during year 4 or following graduation.

This paper, “A longitudinal examination of relations between competitive athletic participation, drinking norms, impulsivity, and sensation seeking and binge drinking throughout college,” was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and published in the journal Psychology of addictive behaviors.

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