Behavioral decisions of high school student athletes
I have not yet had a chance to read the entire report, but a recent analysis of the 2007 Risk Behavior Survey reveals some interesting associations between (a) participation in team sports and (b) drug and alcohol use among U.S. high school student athletes. According to a representative sample of 13,000 student responses:
- Roughly 60% of boys and 48% of girls reported being on one or more sports team in the prior year.
- For young males, team sport participation was associated with “decreased levels of depression and smoking, and an increased likelihood of fighting, drinking, and binge drinking.”
- “For white young women, sports team participation was associated with decreased levels of fighting, depression, cigarette smoking, marijuana use, and unhealthy weight loss practice.”
- “There was no association between sports team participation and drinking for white female students. However, for black high school girls, sports team participation was associated with increased levels of binge drinking.”
Researchers noted that the differences in risk behavior between White and Black students who participated on a sports team may have more to do with socioeconomic status than race. And while the survey of 13,000 students provides an awesomely large data-set, the questions on the Risk Behavior Survey were often be quite general. The survey does not, for example, solicit information from students about the type of sport they played, nor the level of competition—factors that could yield more interesting and useful data.
Source: Reuters Health