Alcohol-related aggression and antisocial behaviour in sportspeople/athletes

J Sci Med Sport. 2012 Jul;15(4):292-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2011.10.008. Epub 2011 Dec 16.


Objectives: There is no empirical research on alcohol-related aggression and antisocial behaviour in non-US collegiate athletes. The present study addressed this gap by examining these behaviours in Australian university sportspeople.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Methods: University sportspeople and non-sportspeople completed questionnaires on alcohol consumption, aggressive and antisocial behaviours (e.g., abused, hit or assaulted someone, made unwanted sexual advance, damaged property) when intoxicated. Participants also reported whether they had been the victim of similar aggressive or antisocial behaviours. Demographic data and known confounders were collected.

Results: Hierarchical logistic regression models accounting for confounders and alcohol consumption scores found that university sportspeople were significantly more likely than non-sportspeople to have displayed aggressive behaviour (i.e., insulted or assaulted someone; OR 1.65, 95% CI: 1.19, 2.28, p=.003), and damaged property (OR 1.98, 95% CI: 1.38, 2.84, p<.0005) in the past year when intoxicated. Sportspeople were no more likely to have received aggression, had property damaged due to others intoxication (OR 1.21, 95% CI: .90, 1.62, p=.20; and OR 1.10, 95% CI: .79, 1.53, p=.57, respectively), or to have made unwanted sexual advances (OR 1.10, 95% CI: .65, 1.83, p=.74). Sportspeople were less likely to have reported being sexually assaulted when intoxicated (OR .44, 95% CI: .23, .83, p<.01).

Conclusions: Consistent with work from the US alcohol-related aggressive and antisocial behaviours were greater in male Australian university sportspeople/athletes than in their female and non-sporting counterparts. There is a need for research explicating the interaction between alcohol, contextual and cultural aspects of sport, and sport participants.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aggression / drug effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology*
  • Alcohol-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / chemically induced*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology*
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • New South Wales
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult