Alcohol Misuse Among College Athletes:  Self-Medication For Psychiatric Symptoms?

Barney E. Miller, Merry N. Miller, Ruth Verhegge, H H. Linville, and Andres J. Pumariega

 A collegiate athlete populations was surveyed for alcohol abuse as well as self-reported depression, anxiety, and other psychiatric symptoms.  This study revealed that in a group of 262 athletes there were 21 percent who reported high alcohol use and problems associated with its use.  Significant correlations were found between reported alcohol abuse and self-reported symptoms of depression and general psychiatric symptoms. Subjects with positive depression and psychiatric symptom ratings in the "severe" range has a significantly higher rate of alcohol abuse than subjects who had low depression and low or mild symptom ratings.  Conversely, subjects reporting higher rates of alcohol misuse had more psychiatric symptoms.  These findings suggest a possible causal link between psychopathology and serious alcohol abuse among college athletes.  They also point to the need for routine depression and anxiety screening in college students who are typically beginning a significant exposure to alcohol.


        This article may be read in its entirety in the Journal of Drug Education, Volume 32 Number 1- 2002, on pages 41 to 52.


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