Objective: Approximately 4.5 million Australians are involved in community sports clubs. A high level of alcohol consumption tends to be commonplace in this setting. The only program of its type in the world, the Good Sports program was designed to reduce harmful alcohol consumption in these Australian community sports clubs. The program offers a staged accreditation process to encourage the implementation of alcohol harm-reduction strategies.
Method: We conducted a postintervention adoption study to evaluate whether community sports club accreditation through the Good Sports program was associated with lower rates of alcohol consumption. We examined alcohol consumption rates in 113 clubs (N = 1,968 participants) and compared these to consumption rates in the general community. We hypothesized that members of clubs with more advanced implementation of the Good Sports accreditation program (Stage Two) would consume less alcohol than those with less advanced implementation (Stage One).
Results: Multilevel modeling (MLM) indicated that on days when teams competed, Stage Two club members consumed 19% less alcohol than Stage One club members. MLM also indicated that the length of time a club had been in the Good Sports program was associated with reduced rates of weekly drinking that exceeded Australian short-term risky drinking guidelines. However consumption rates for all clubs were still higher than the general community. Higher accreditation stage also predicted reduced long-term risky drinking by club members.
Conclusion: Our findings suggest that community sports clubs show evidence of higher levels of alcohol consumption and higher rates of risky consumption than the general community. Implementation of the Good Sports accreditation strategy was associated with lower alcohol consumption in these settings.