n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Drinking patterns and related consequences among university student-athletes and physical activity - : health and physical activity

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


As students enter university, many of them are introduced to a new social environment where they experience unfamiliar social situations. As they enter new social situations, they look to their new social groups to help them determine what attitudes and behaviours are expected or appropriate, thereby leading them to experiment with substances. Alcohol has been identified as one of the substances that most students use and abuse. When drinking behaviours among athletes become problematic and risky, there is the potential that this can influence competitive performance, academic success and social development. Research in alcohol use among student-athletes is sparse, especially in South Africa. The purpose of this study was, therefore, to examine drinking patterns among student-athletes and the related consequences thereof. A convenience sampling technique was used. Questionnaires were administered to 400 athletes at three university campuses in Gauteng Province of South Africa. Exploratory data analysis was used to describe the quantity, frequency and consequences of alcohol consumption and Chi-square analysis was conducted to determine the relationship between gender and various consequences of drinking. The study found that male student-athletes consumed high quantities of beer and spirits, whereas female student-athletes consumed moderate quantities of beer and wine. Although many of the athletes consumed alcohol occasionally, the volume of alcohol consumed by the athletes, especially males, was alarmingly high. The number of negative consequences experienced by most male and female athletes as a result of alcohol consumption was low. Implications of the findings for the students' health, academic, social development as well as athletic performance are discussed.

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