Pro Athletes Not Role Models for Youth

MANCHESTER, England, April 23 (UPI) — Professional athletes are often portrayed as role models, but in reality they have little impact on young people’s drinking habits, British researchers say.

Researchers at the University of Manchester and the University of Western Sydney asked more than 1,000 young people who follow sports on the professional and amateur level and those who were not sports fans to report the perceived drinking behavior of high-profile sport stars.


The study participants were also asked to report their own drinking behavior using the World Health Organization’s Alcohol Use Disorder Identification Test.

“The perceived drinking habits of sports stars and its relationship to the drinking levels of young people has never been examined empirically, despite these sporting heroes often being touted as influential role models for young people,” lead researcher Dr. Kerry O’Brien of Manchester’s School of Psychological Sciences said in a statement.

“Our research shows that young people, both sporting participants and non-sporting participants, don’t appear to be influenced by the drinking habits of high-profile sportspeople as depicted in the mass media.”

The findings are published in Drug and Alcohol Review.

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