The article High-Risk Drinking in College Athletes and Nonathletes Across the Academic Year from the journal, Journal of College Counseling which is written by Diana M. Doumas, Rob Turrisi, Kenneth M. Coll, and Kate Haralson, explores heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences between freshman student-athletes and non-athletes. Student-athletes are at a higher risk of it than non-athletes; social and personal problems are related to greater drinking (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 163). Therer’s a big difference between student-athletes and non-athletes which may lead to a higher risk of drinking. According to this article, student-athletes automatically have more stress than non athletes because their expectations/demands are greater. These expectations include how well they perform as an athlete and also they have to meet the demands of their professors. While non-athletes only have to worry about academics and maybe clubs. Plus, athletes have to create time for their social lives, but not only that, they still have to stay in peak condition for their sport throughout the year. Another reason the article states for the heavy drinking in student-athletes is that they have special status as athletes that the non-athletes most likely dont have.
This status gives the student-athletes a greater chance to be invited to social functions like parties where there usually is drinking (Doumas et al.,2007,p. 164). The authors hypothesis about high-risk drinking in freshman college students was that freshman student-athletes would drink more and have more drinking-related consequences than non-athletes (Doumas et al.,2007,p. 165& 170). The researchers examined the freshman for this study because they believed that freshman had the highest risk of being exposed to drinking due to previous research done on this topic. In addition to the hypothesis stated before, they also wanted to examine the difference of drinking habitats (if they increased or decreased) from the fall term to the spring term of their freshman academic year (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 170). The reason why they wanted to do this was that no other research was done on this topic that had looked into the difference of alcohol consumption between the fall and spring term or at least gone into detail like they did. The sample used for this study was a survey from 455 freshmen that attended a university and those participants were split into the student-athlete group or a non-athlete group depending on if they played sports or any sports-related clubs (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 165). Each person was given questionnaires that ask questions related to the use of alcohol and the consequences that come with alcohol. To calculate the amount of drinking the student-athletes did versus the non-athletes they used quantity of alcohol drunk and the frequency of drunkenness from Thursday to Saturday for a typical week (Doumas et al., 2007, p. 166).
To examine the alcohol-related consequences they used the YAAPST, which was a questionnaire that asked about the negative consequences that occurred in the past year that related to alcohol, and they split up the consequences into four categories (academic, interpersonal, physical, and dangerous) and each of them used specific questions from the YAAPST questionnaire (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 167). The results of the study were that student-athletes do indeed drink more and have more drinking-related consequences than a non athlete (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 169). The results also showed that the status of an athlete had a drastic effect on how many times a person drank alcohol (or went to a social function) so this backs up the idea that being an athlete has a greater chance and more opportunities to be in unfamiliar social situations. The results for the difference of heavy drinking between the spring term versus fall term were that drinking quantity, the frequency of drunkness, and the consequences all increased from the fall term to the spring term (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 169). According to the authors, the increase is most likely due to the fact that alcohol prevention programs are presented before the fall term begins and no other programs are presented after that; therefore, the effects of the program decline as the year goes on which explains the increase (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 169). Analysis Overall the research that was done about the high-risk drinking of freshman student-athletes versus non athletes was pretty excellent.
There were many things that were done well and some things that could be improved for future research. One aspect of the research that was done well was the fact that they used a high amount of students that took the surveys. This means that the results would be more accurate and if the researchers didnt use as many students then the results would have been less accurate. Another thing that they did well was that the gender of the participants was pretty much the same. If the gender was drastically different in each group (athletes and non athletes) then it may have affected the results of the study. Something else that was done well was the fact that they split up the alcohol-related into different categories, which made the research on that aspect of the study more specific and accurate. However, in future research they should add more alcohol-related consequences to the categories; for example, they can use the different types of sports the students played and what consequences came with that. There are some things that can be improved about this research. First, they should use a more variety of questionnaires for the measurement of drinking quantity and the frequency of it too. A bigger variety would give the researchers more specific information and in the end possibly a more accurate result. Another thing that can be improved is that this study didnt follow the same students from the spring term to the fall term, which could have thrown off the results about the increase of drinking from fall to spring (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 171). If the students were followed then the research could have a stronger and more accurate result. A limitation of this study is that it can only show that alcohol drinking prevention programs need to have better timing; it doesnt give a specific program that would or it doesnt when the best time is for them (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 171). This study is geared towards colleges and college counselors to be specific. It shows that different and more steps are needed to be taken to reduce the amount of drinking in students especially athletes. According to the study, the prevention programs need to have better timing or at least there should be more of them throughout the academic year.
The research also shows that programs should have more variety in them; for example, most programs that presented are like lectures and the article conveys that feedback from a person or parent programs are more likely to be effective than the lecture-based ones (Doumas et al., 2007,p. 171). This study/research is valuable to colleges and future research should expand upon this and study some parts of it in more detail. Though there are many things that can be improved on this study but that doesnt change the fact that it gave valuable information to college counselors about alcohol drinking among students and what group of students have the highest risk for it. The counselors can use this information to create better prevention programs and have a better sense of timing because of this study. Overall the research was great and it studied a topic that is usually underlooked.
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