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THE EFFECTS OF A TEAM-CENTERED INTERVENTION ON THE DRINKING BEHAVIORS OF COLLEGE ATHLETES. A Thesis. Presented. to the Faculty of

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THE EFFECTS OF A TEAM-CENTERED INTERVENTION ON THE DRINKING BEHAVIORS OF COLLEGE ATHLETES A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of California State University, Chico In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
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THE EFFECTS OF A TEAM-CENTERED INTERVENTION ON THE DRINKING BEHAVIORS OF COLLEGE ATHLETES A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of California State University, Chico In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts in Kinesiology by Luke Reid Spring 2009 THE EFFECTS OF A TEAM-CENTERED INTERVENTION ON THE DRINKING BEHAVIORS OF COLLEGE ATHLETES A Thesis by Luke Reid Spring 2009 APPROVED BY THE DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF GRADUATE, INTERNATIONAL, AND INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES: Susan E. Place, Ph.D. APPROVED BY THE GRADUATE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: George David Swanson, Ph.D. Graduate Coordinator Traci Ciapponi, Ed.D., Chair Cathrine Himberg, Ph.D. Scott Barker, M.S. Anita Barker, M.S. TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGE List of Tables... Abstract... v vi CHAPTER I. Introduction... 1 Overview... 1 Failing Prevention Efforts... 2 College Athletes: More Education, More Drinking... 2 Statement of the Problem... 3 Importance of the Study... 4 Operational Definitions... 4 II. Review of Literature... 6 Introduction... 6 Drinking in College: A History of the Literature... 8 Drinking in College: Who, How Much, and How Often? Drinking in College: The Consequences Drinking in College: The Student-Athlete Why Do Athletes Drink More? Drinking in College: At a Western University Why CHAMPS/Life Skills? III. Methodology Design Participants Materials Procedures Data Analysis iii CHAPTER PAGE IV. Results Presentation of Findings V. Discussion Summary Conclusion Limitations of the Study Future Directions References Appendices A. Informed Consent Agreement B. The Effects of Alcohol on Sport Performance Presentation C. Team Contract Examples D. Additional Tables iv LIST OF TABLES TABLE PAGE 1. Number of Times Reported Binging in the Last Two weeks Times Drunk in the Past 30 Days Number of Reported Negative First-hand Effects of Drinking Times Respondents Reported Driving after Drinking in the Past 30 Days Times Respondents Reported Driving after Having Five or More Drinks in the Past 30 Days Times Respondents Reported Riding with a Driver Who Was High or Drunk in the Past 30 Days Times One of the Secondhand Effects of Other Students Drinking Experienced Times Having Asked Someone Who Has Had Too Much Alcohol to Stop Drinking in the Past 30 Days v ABSTRACT THE EFFECTS OF A TEAM-CENTERED INTERVENTION ON THE DRINKING BEHAVIORS OF COLLEGE ATHLETES by Luke Reid Master of Arts in Kinesiology California State University, Chico Spring 2009 The abuse of alcohol by college students is well documented. Studies have revealed that the problem is even larger among student-athletes, who report drinking even more than their non-athlete peers. Such behavior may result from the strong social ties formed in a team setting. These social ties are often associated with binge drinking. Along with an increase in dangerous drinking comes an increase in negative firsthand and secondhand consequences. Thus, the problems associated with dangerous drinking behaviors loom even larger for student-athletes. The purpose of this study was to explore whether college athletes who were educated in a team setting with the NCAA CHAMPS Alcohol Choices and Addictive Behaviors course, and then asked to formulate a team-wide contract in response to that education, would alter their drinking behaviors. vi The study was done on a residential campus of more than 15,000 students, approximately 300 of which are involved in intercollegiate athletics. Seven of the university s 13 intercollegiate athletic teams participated in the study. Every athlete on four of the rosters made up the experiment group (n=87). The athletes on three of the rosters made up the control group (n=70). There were 32 females and 38 males in the control group, and 47 females and 40 males in the experimental group. The sample was representative of the university s entire student-athlete population in terms of age and gender. The 2001 Harvard School of Public Health CAS questionnaire adapted was used for the pre- and post-test. The questionnaire featured questions about alcohol use and its consequences. However, no significant changes were revealed in the results following an exploration of the statistics with SPSS. The difficulties of engaging in research aimed at understanding the trends and reasons for alcohol consumption among college-athletes became increasingly evident as this research project unfolded. Many lessons were learned that will undoubtedly benefit future research projects aimed at understanding these behaviors. Future research in this field can take a number of different forms. It may be more effective to structure alcohol education interventions during an athlete s off-season. It may also be more effective to target younger athletes before they develop drinking habits they may bring to the university setting or form once they arrive on campus. A possible difference between student-athletes who participate in individual sports (e.g., track, vii diving, golf) versus those who compete in more team oriented sports (i.e. basketball or football) could also lend insight. Another tact would be to use techniques such as interviewing and observation, which might provide as clearer picture of why student-athletes drink, as opposed to just how much they drink. While it is certainly disappointing that the student-athletes drinking behaviors did not significantly improve with the intervention introduced in this study, in retrospect, having a more multi-faceted design for gathering data may have also yielded results that would help expand on current theories regarding dangerous drinking behaviors. viii CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Overview Red plastic cups littered the yard. Empty bottles and cans sat on the front steps and on the armrests of the dirty couches and chairs lining the front porch. Students walked by on the way to their Wednesday morning classes paying little attention to the sheet of plywood now being used as fencing. It read: Beer Olympics. For someone examining the extent of alcohol use in colleges around the nation, and specifically the use of alcohol by college athletes, this sign was impossible to ignore. Its message was twofold: alcohol and athletics are linked, and heavy drinking is something to be celebrated on the college campus. Many college students practice very dangerous drinking habits. This was a small glimpse into that reality. Though events like the Beer Olympics may seem to some like a harmless way for college students to enjoy themselves, they often, in fact, lead to harmful situations. This is evidenced by the alarming number of alcohol related unintentional deaths among college students 1,700 between 1998 and 2001 (Hingson, Heren, Winter, & Wechsler, 2005). Put another way, an average of nearly five college students died every day as a result of the misuse of alcohol in Problems like sexual assault, sexually transmitted diseases, poor academic performance, violence, and future alcohol dependence and abuse, are often directly attributable to the irresponsible use of 1 2 alcohol among college students (Anderson & Mathieu, 1996; Perkins, 2002; Jennison, 2004; Bennett, Miller, & Woodall, 1999; Hughes & Dodder, 1983; Engs & Hanson, 1992; Engs, 1977; Hingson et al., 2005). Alcohol abuse by college students and the problems that result has helped lead to the research, design and implementation of multiple alcohol abuse prevention plans. Failing Prevention Efforts The serious consequences attributed to heavy drinking among college students have led to increased prevention efforts mentioned previously (Wechsler, Lee, Kuo, Seibring, Nelson, & Lee, 2002; Wecshler, Lee, Kuo, & Lee, 2000). The desired aim of these projects is to curb the regularity of events like the Beer Olympics. Assessing the worth of these preventive measures paints a discouraging picture. Educators have fallen well short of their desired goal of decreasing the volume and frequency of alcohol consumption (Wechsler, Lee, Kuo, Seibring et al., 2002). At first glance, this claim might seem surprising to most, but it is validated by the facts. The number of binge drinkers has held steady, and the number of frequent binge drinkers seems to be on the rise. College Athletes: More Education, More Drinking The drinking habits of college athletes are often more extreme than those of the average college student despite the fact that they report greater exposure to alcohol prevention efforts than non-athletes (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000). The social makeup of athletic teams may lend itself to a dangerous drinking environment (Nelson and Wechsler, 2000; Waldron & Krane, 2005; Messner, 2002; Overman & Terry, 1991; 3 Donnelly & Young, 1988; Miller, Hoffman, Barnes, Farrell, Sabo, & Mellnick, 2003). Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore whether college athletes who are educated in a team setting, and then asked to formulate a team-wide contract in response to that education, would alter their drinking behaviors as a result. Statement of the Problem After examining the research on the drinking habits of college students and college athletes, and the popular theories about why this problem exists, multiple questions emerged that clearly warranted investigation. These questions were refined and led to specific and testable hypotheses aimed at creating a greater understanding regarding the causes, effects, and possible avenues of prevention of heavy drinking among college athletes. With respect to whether or not engaging in alcohol education in a team environment would alter student-athletes drinking behaviors, multiple hypotheses were proffered. Specifically, the hypotheses predicted were: 1) Drinking and its firsthand effects would decrease as a result of alcohol education, 2) Following the intervention students would also experience fewer secondhand effects as a result of the drinking habits of their peers, 3) The number of students who asked someone who has had too much to drink to stop drinking would increase due to the amplified situational awareness that the alcohol awareness classes and team contract had generated, and 4) Those students who reported being members of a sorority or fraternity would not report as much change as those who were not due to the apparent correlation between Greek affiliations and 4 drinking (Scott-Sheldon, Carey, & Carey, 2007; Engs & Hanson, 1993; Cashin, Presley. & Meilman, 1998; Wechsler, Molnar, Davenport, & Bair, 1999). Importance of the Study The examination of the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills (CHAMPS) Alcohol Choices and Addictive Behaviors course (ACAB) was used specifically to encourage change in the drinking habits of college athletes. Drinking is a major problem on campuses throughout the nation, even more so among college athletes, and the efforts to curb this problem have been mostly ineffective historically (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000; Wechsler, Lee, Kuo, Seibring et al., 2002). An intervention that proved to effectively curb the drinking habits of college athletes would have widespread implications in the athletic and academic communities of our colleges and universities. Operational Definitions Binge Drinking A binge drinker was defined as a male who drank five or more drinks in a row, or female who drank four or more drinks in a row during the past two weeks (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000). Firsthand Effects The firsthand effects of drinking include any negative personal consequences associated with one s drinking habits. The specific firsthand effects explored in this study are death and injuries, drinking and driving, dangerous sexual practices, blacking out and vomiting, academic problems, future abuse and/or dependency, and legal issues. 5 One Drink A single drink was defined as a 12-ounce bottle or can of beer, a four-ounce glass of wine, a 12-ounce bottle or can of wine cooler, or a shot of liquor straight or in a drink. Secondhand Effects The secondhand effects of drinking include anything that might negatively affect an innocent bystander. Secondhand effects explored in this study include being hit, physically assaulted, sexually assaulted, insulted or humiliated, having property damaged, being responsible for taking care of a drunken peer, getting interrupted sleep, and unwanted sexual advances. CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE Introduction College presidents described alcohol misuse as the single greatest threat to the quality of campus life in a 1990 survey (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990). A review of the literature focused on the study of alcohol use among college students supports that claim. The history of such literature will be discussed in the first half of this review of literature. A discussion of trends will follow. Widespread abuse of alcohol by college students has not only led to personal problems for the alcohol abusers, but also negative secondhand effects experienced by their peers (Green, Uryasz, Petr, & Bray, 2001; Johnson & Bogle, 2001; Leichliter, Meilman, Presley, & Chashin, 1998; Nelson & Wechsler, 2000). Two major recent national surveys report that more than 2-in-5 students stated that they binge drank at least once in the past two weeks (Wechsler, Dowdall, Davenport, & Rimm, 1995; O Malley & Johnston, 2002). The problem is even larger among student-athletes, who report drinking even more than their non-athlete peers (Nelson & Wechsler, 2000). Such behavior may result from the strong social ties formed in a team setting. These social ties are often associated with binge drinking (Messner, 2002; Nelson & Wechsler, 2000; Overman & Terry, 1991; Waldron & Krane, 2005). Along with an increase in dangerous drinking comes an 6 7 increase in negative firsthand and secondhand consequences. Thus, the problems associated with dangerous drinking behaviors loom even larger for student-athletes. The negative consequences of drinking are of major concern at the university where this research took place. A number of student deaths over the past decade were directly or indirectly attributable to the misuse of alcohol. In 1987, the long-standing Pioneer Days celebration was cancelled by the existing university president because of alcohol-fueled rioting. A substitute spring celebration started in 1988, but was also cancelled because of troubles stemming from alcohol abuse. In addition, the university has twice been ranked among the nation s top party schools by Playboy magazine. As the base of research has grown in the study of alcohol use by college students, so have prevention efforts at local, regional, organizational, and national levels. Nevertheless, the 2001 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Survey (CAS) found no significant decrease in the amount of students who reported binge drinking between 1993 and 2001 (Wechsler, Lee, Seibring et al., 2002). The apparent lack of effectiveness of many of these efforts to curb drinking among college students has caused researchers and educators to rethink their strategies. One relatively new strategy was developed by a branch of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as part of its CHAMPS Program. While some alcohol prevention strategies focus on social norms theory, one-on-one interventions, or environmental factors, CHAMPS ACAB is designed specifically for use in a classroom setting. The effectiveness of this specific intervention has yet to be studied. 8 Drinking in College: A History of the Literature The use of alcohol by college students throughout the history of the United States is undeniable. According to Straus and Bacon (1953), many colleges in the 18 th century featured:... student canteens called butteries where all sorts of supplies including wines, beers, and liquors were sold (p. 37). Beer and wine were also available in many college dining halls. More than 200 years later, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Florida State University, the University of Vermont, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison each feature more than 150 venues that sell alcohol within two miles of campus (Wechsler & Wuethrich, 2002). However, studies concerned with how many college students drink, how often they drink, and how much they drink, are a relatively new phenomenon. The Early Work Straus and Bacon (1953) are responsible for the first extensive research concerned with the drinking habits of college students on a national scale. The book, titled Drinking in College (Straus & Bacon, 1953), was groundbreaking because it included more than 15,000 students and represented 27 colleges in its sample. The colleges varied in size, geographical region, religiosity, and enrollment size. Drinking in College was the first well-publicized study of its kind, but it is now one of many. Until recently, however, the caliber of research left much to be desired. Differing methods of measurement, varying definitions of terms, and inadequate sample sizes were just some of the issues that made it hard to generalize the research to nonparticipating institutions, or compare one study to another. Blane and Hewitt (1977) 9 summarized the literature of 68 surveys conducted between 1960 and 1975 and found that: Data... are so limited the numerical estimates of frequency of drinking and intoxication experience cannot be made with confidence (Blane & Hewitt, 1977, p. XII 2). The 1970s Following the summary of literature by Blane and Hewitt, much of the research focused on the drinking habits of students in different regions of the United States. Kuder and Madson (1976) measured the drinking habits of students at Colorado State University, and Wechsler and McFadden (1979) studied 7,000 college students in New England. Hill and Bugen (1979) focused on students at the University of Texas, while Kaplan (1979) surveyed 230 undergraduate students at Arizona State University. Other researchers concerned themselves with national trends during this time. Hanson (1974) surveyed students from 37 colleges and universities in 1970 and He replicated the study for a report published in 1977 and found that, while heavy episodic drinking did not increase enough to be statistically significant, it did increase (Hanson, 1977). In a similar study of national scope, Engs (1977) also discovered that dangerous drinking behaviors were on the rise. A Problem on the Rise Despite growing data suggesting drinking in college was a large problem, this fact did not always resonate with college administrators. According to the work of Kazalunas (1982), the focus of college administrators was on drug use and campus demonstrations, while the use of alcohol was becoming a growing problem. He declared that: Before anyone really looked, drinking, too, was becoming a serious problem 10 (Kazalunas, 1982, p. 147). He strengthened his argument with statistics released by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism in The results of studies by Hughes and Dodder (1983) and Engs and Hansen (1983), each published one year after Kazalunas remarks, did little to ease the fears of Kazalunas and those who believed, as he did, that alcohol use among college students was becoming a major issue. The Search for Changes Over Time Though hampered by relatively small sample sizes, Engs and Hanson (1992) were the first to replicate their own research in an attempt to search for changes in drinking patterns and styles over time on a national scale. They studied surveys from 1982, 1985, 1988, and These surveys, which were consistent in methodology, instrumentation, and procedures, finally gave researchers information they could study to understand the drinking patterns of college students over time and the inherent consequences. It was seen as a welcome addition to the accumulation of research. Continuing Research Problems A review of the literature reveals that data regarding drinking and college students grew immensely after the work of Straus and Bacon (1953). As the prevalence of alcohol use increased, the research followed. Nevertheless, a major problem still per
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