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Dimensions of Athletic Identity and their Associations with Drinking Behaviors among a National Sample of University Athletes in the United States
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  (IF4.381),  Pub Date : 2021-09-24, DOI: 10.1007/s10964-021-01503-2
Meca, Alan, Allison, Kelsie, Kubilus, Richie, Olthuis, Janine V., Merrill, Jennifer E., Zamboanga, Byron L., Wyrick, David, Milroy, Jeffrey J., Carr, Kyla

Although prior studies have indicated athletic identity plays a role in alcohol use among college athletes, this research has largely drawn on a unidimensional conceptualization. Addressing this gap, the current study utilized a sample of 8,550 university athletes (Mage = 19.70 years, SD = 1.33, 50.8% men) from 203 U.S. post-secondary institutions to examine the associations between athletic identity dimensions (i.e., social identification, negative affectivity, and exclusivity) and alcohol use for athletes across gender, sport type, and division. The results indicated that negative affectivity and social identification were associated with higher levels of alcohol use, whereas exclusivity was associated with lower levels of alcohol use. Further, the association between dimensions of athletic identity and alcohol use varied across competitive level (i.e., Division I, II, and III). The findings implicate the need for (a) future research to approach athletic identity as a multidimensional concept when examining its association with alcohol use outcomes, and (b) post-secondary alcohol prevention professionals to integrate dimensions of athletic identity in alcohol prevention approaches.