Drinking and swimming: investigating young Australian males' intentions to engage in recreational swimming while under the influence of alcohol

J Community Health. 2014 Feb;39(1):139-47. doi: 10.1007/s10900-013-9751-4.


Drowning, a largely preventable problem, continues to be a serious issue worldwide, with young men particularly at risk. Alcohol and drugs are often present among young males and, particularly for males aged 18-34 years, alcohol is considered to be a significant risk factor for drowning. The current study aimed to understand the motivations guiding the intentions of young Australian men to engage in drinking and swimming, a behaviour not yet examined systematically. A cross-sectional correlational design was adopted to investigate the ability of the theory of planned behaviour (TPB) and additional variables to predict males' intentions to drink and swim. Males (N = 211) aged 18-34 years (Mage = 23.93, SD = 4.01) completed a survey either on-line or paper-based. The survey assessed the TPB constructs of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control (PBC); and additional variables of group norms, anticipated regret, objective (i.e. swimming ability) and perceived (i.e. perceived severity and perceived susceptibility) risk perceptions, and past behaviour. Support was found for the TPB constructs of attitude and subjective norm, but not PBC, as well as the additional constructs of group norm, anticipated regret, objective risk, and past behaviour in predicting males' intentions to drink and swim; explaining an overall 76 % of variance. Knowledge gained from this study will help to inform resultant interventions designed to discourage alcohol use in, on, or around water and, thus, prevent drownings in this at risk group.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Intoxication / psychology*
  • Attitude
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Intention*
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Perception
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Environment
  • Swimming / psychology*
  • Swimming / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult