University of Hertfordshire

  • Frances Longstaff
  • Sarah Partington
  • Nick Heather
  • Elizabeth Partington
  • Susan Allsop
  • Helen Wareham
  • Mark Jankowski
  • Alan St Clair Gibson
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339
Number of pages349
JournalAddiction Research & Theory
Publication statusPublished - 2012


Aims: The primary aim is to compare members of UK university sport groups with students not engaged in UK university sport in terms of alcohol consumption and risk for alcohol-related harm. A secondary aim is to compare alcohol consumption levels and alcohol-related problems in UK university athletes in different sports and at different competitive levels. Method: A cross-sectional survey using the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) and a demographic questionnaire was carried out with a purposive sample of 770 undergraduates (298 male, 471 female) from seven UK universities. Results: University sport members (n = 181) had a median AUDIT score of 11.5 (interquartile range (IQR) = 8) compared to students not engaged in university sport (n = 588) median AUDIT score of 8 (IQR = 11). The difference between medians was highly significant (p < 0.01). There was a significant difference between the median scores of members of team (n = 103, median = 13, IQR = 8) and individual sports (median = 8, IQR = 11), with team sports members scoring higher on the AUDIT (p < 0.01). There were no significant differences on median AUDIT scores between athletes competing at different levels. Conclusions: Levels of alcohol-related risk and harm are high in members of UK university sport groups. University sports members particularly team sports may be an ‘at risk group’ for alcohol-related problems and require targeted interventions. Further research is warranted comparing these student groups, and the relationship between sport type, participation level and alcohol consumption.

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