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Original article

Vol. 142 No. 0708 (2012)

Social contexts of sports-practicing youths’ hazardous drinking

  • Richard E Bélanger
  • Fabien Ohl
  • André Berchtold
  • Christina Akre
  • Joan-Carles Suris
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2012;142:w13526


Sports-practicing youths are at an elevated risk for alcohol use and misuse. Although much attention has recently been given to depicting subgroups facing the greatest threats, little evidence exists on the contexts in which their drinking takes place. Using data from a cross-sectional study on youth sports participation and substance use in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, this study focused on the social contexts associated with hazardous drinking of 894 sports-practicing adolescents aged 16 to 20. Divided between those who had been drunk in the last month (hazardous drinkers, n = 315) and those who had not (n = 579), sports-practicing adolescents were compared on reported gatherings (sports-related, sports-unrelated, mixed) likely linked to their drinking behaviour. Mixed social contexts, followed by sports-unrelated ones, were reported as the most common context by both male and female youths who practiced sports. After controlling for several possible confounders, male hazardous drinkers were more than 3 times more likely to report sports-unrelated social contexts as the most common, compared to sport-related ones, while females were more than 7 times more likely to do so. Our findings seem to indicate that, rather than focusing only on sports-related factors, prevention of alcohol misuse among sports-practicing youths should also pay attention to the social contextualisation of their hazardous drinking.


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