EUCAM - European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing

Drunk sports stars 'do not influence' alcohol habits

21 April 2010

Drunk sports stars 'do not influence' alcohol habits The drunken antics of some sporting stars do not influence the drinking habits of the young, research suggests.
Researchers at Manchester and Western Sydney University in Australia found most of 1,028 students thought sports stars drank less than themselves.
The students' drinking habits were more strongly related to overestimating how much their friends drank.
The researchers also warned of a link between alcohol marketing within sport and hazardous drinking by young people.

Source: BBC news
Date: 21 April 2010

Questionnaires filled out by 1,028 students at two Australian universities showed participants thought that, on average, professional sportsmen and women drank 12% less than they did.
The report said: "Despite frequent media reports depicting high-profile sportspeople as heavy alcohol users, the present results suggest the influence of these reports, and the behaviours modelled in them by sports stars, have a meagre impact on others' drinking."

Alcohol sponsorship
The researchers said the use of sporting heroes in advertisements for alcoholic drinks was much more influential.

Co-author of the report Dr Kerry O'Brien said sports administrators and the drinks industry needed to take more responsibility for problems associated with drinking.

Dr O'Brien said: "Instead of blaming the athletes, sports administrators and the alcohol industry need to take some responsibility themselves and show some leadership.

"Sport administrators are very quick to condemn and punish individual sport stars for acting as poor role models when they are caught displaying drunken and loutish behaviour.

"But there is much stronger evidence for a relationship between alcohol-industry sponsorship, advertising and marketing within sport and hazardous drinking among young people than there is for the influence of sports stars drinking.

"We are not suggesting that sports stars should not be encouraged to drink responsibly, but it's disingenuous to place the blame on them for setting the bad example.

"It is time that sport administrators consider their own social responsibilities when weighing up the costs and benefits of using their sports and sport stars to market alcohol on behalf of the alcohol industry."

O'Brien, K.S., Kolt, G.S., Webber, A., Hunter, J.A. (2010) Alcohol consumption in sport: The influence of sporting idols, friends and normative drinking practices. Drug and Alcohol Review

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