Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field: Winning the Party: Athletes Achievement Motivation may Predict Alcohol Consumption (Sports Med Res)
Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Winning the Party: Athletes Achievement Motivation may Predict Alcohol Consumption

Sport-related achievement motivation and alcohol outcomes: An athlete-specific risk factor among intercollegiate athletes

Weaver C, Martens M, Cadigan J, Takamatsu S, Treloar H, Pedersen E. Addictive Behaviors. 2013 August 29;38(12):2930-2936. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2013.08.021.

Take Home Message: Male collegiate athletes with certain types of achievement motivation have an increased risk of high alcohol consumption. Female athletes with high goal orientation consume more alcohol in the off-season compared with peers with less goal orientation.

Heavy alcohol use is prevalent across college campuses, particularly among athletes. Certain factors unique to sport may influence alcohol use among athletes; for example, athletes out of their competitive season drink more frequently than during a competitive season. Therefore, Weaver and colleagues examined the relationship between different types of sport achievement motivation and alcohol use and alcohol-related problems among intercollegiate athletes. The study included 263 varsity athletes from three college campuses. The majority of the participants were female (76%). The researchers utilized the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ), which assessed sport-related achievement motivation on three subscales: competitiveness, win orientation, and goal orientation. Alcohol consumption was determined by the Daily Drinking Questionnaire (DDQ) and problems associated with alcohol were determined by the Brief Young Adult Alcohol Consequences Questionnaire (BYAACQ). The authors separated the results by gender and seasonal status. Men with higher levels of goal orientation and competitiveness consumed greater amounts of alcohol, especially in-season. However, among female athletes competitiveness was not related to alcohol consumption but women with more goal orientation consumed greater amounts of alcohol during the off-season.  Men with higher win orientation scores tended to consume greater amounts of alcohol during the off-season but less alcohol during in-season. Among female athletes, higher win orientation was associated with less alcohol use, particularly during the in-season.

There are many implications for this research. Male and female collegiate athletes seem to have different mindsets when it comes to alcohol consumption. Males typically consumed more alcohol during the off-season than in-season but males with high competitiveness and high goal orientation drink more during the in-season than their peers with less competitiveness and goal orientation. Men with greater win orientation, however, tended to consume more in the off-season then their peers with lower win orientation.  For women, the authors concluded that women might see alcohol use in-season as a deterrent to athletic success; however, female athletes with more goal orientation consume more alcohol in the off-season than females with lower goal orientation. It is evident that men overall seem to consume more alcohol in-season when compared to women. All three subsets of sports achievement motivation increased the likelihood of males consuming alcohol and only women with high goal orientation increased alcohol consumption in the off-season. Do men have the mindset of “work hard, play hard” when women don’t have this mindset? Maybe just men in general drink more at college especially in large groups and athletic teams provide an avenue for group drinking. Previous studies have found that alcohol negatively affects athletic performance including increased dehydration, impeded muscle recovery, and increased risk for injury. This is concerning for men with greater goal orientation and competitiveness since drinking more may be impeding their performance and health. Understanding the drinking habits of collegiate athletes may allow support staff to incorporate alcohol awareness educational programs (both for the detriments to physical endeavors as well as overall health). This study provides insight to when and why athletes consume alcohol. This information could be useful for providing in- and off-season educational programs for alcohol awareness. In these programs, we could explain how drinking may impede their competition on the field or how athletes can find other avenues for competition in the off-season instead of alcohol consumption.  Also, as a clinician, we should take extra precautions for hydration if we can conclude that alcohol consumption will be present with student athletes.

Questions for Discussion: As a healthcare professional, how often have you seen athletes physically suffer from dehydration that may be attributed to alcohol consumption? As a clinician what are some preventative measure we can take to educate our patients on negative effects of alcohol consumption?

Written by: Jacob Crow
Reviewed by: Lisa Chinn and Jeffrey Driban


Weaver CC, Martens MP, Cadigan JM, Takamatsu SK, Treloar HR, & Pedersen ER (2013). Sport-related achievement motivation and alcohol outcomes: An athlete-specific risk factor among intercollegiate athletes. Addictive Behaviors, 38 (12), 2930-2936 PMID: 24064192

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