Heavy drinking is often seen among teens and can cause serious health problems and even death. Researchers have found teens who participate in sports have lower levels of hazardous drinking reported Wiley on May 19, 2014. New research which deals with the association between criminal behavior and mental health focused on determining the association between participation in organized sports and an increase in hazardous drinking.
This study was focused on young offenders. The adolescents in the study were either excluded from school or they were involved with the justice system. There were 93 British male young offenders as well as 53 non-offenders included in this study. Both groups suffered from being of similar low socioeconomic status. The participants were asked to participate in a questionnaire which measured behavioral problems and competencies as well as levels of involvement in organized sports.
It was found that there were fewer offenders who participated in an organized sport than non-offenders. About 70 percent of the young offenders reported they had not participated in any sport or activity. There was a significantly higher prevalence of hazardous drinking among the offenders in comparison to the non-offenders. This finding has contradicted earlier studies which stated that participation in team sports indicated an increase in hazardous drinking. This new study also highlighted less drinking for young offenders who participated in a sport.
This study has been published in the journal Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health. The researchers used the Fast Alcohol Screening Test (FAST) to measure indicators of hazardous drinking. There were higher FAST scores among young offenders who participated in fewer organized activities. Among young offenders although they were less likely to have participated in organized activities, participation in a team sport was found to be associated with less hazardous drinking.
It was found vulnerable youths who might have the most to gain from sporting activities actually accessed them the least.
The researchers have made the positive suggestion that a potential avenue to lower drinking would be to ensure that youth
offenders are offered better access to organized sports.