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Drug Alcohol Depend. 2011 Jul 1;116(1-3):242-5. doi: 10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2010.12.013. Epub 2011 Feb 1.

Alcohol consumption associated with collegiate American football pre-game festivities.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.


Internationally, sporting events represent a specific context in which heavy episodic drinking is common. The current study assessed determinants of heavy episodic drinking among tailgaters (i.e., individuals engaging in pre-game social festivities) prior to American football games at two large universities. A total of 466 individuals at two universities completed a short interview and provided a breathalyzer sample to estimate breath alcohol content (BrAC) during the tailgating window (150min prior to and 10min after the start of the game). The plurality of participants, 48.5% at the southeastern university (School1) and 58.8% at the midwestern university (School2), engaged in heavy episodic drinking. Only 54 individuals (11.6%) from the combined sample at both universities abstained from alcohol (confirmed via BrAC). In total, 40.2% of participants at School1 and 31.9% at School2 produced breath samples over the legal limit for driving (i.e., BrAC=0.08 or higher). In site-specific regression analyses, younger ages, males, and non-students at School1, and younger ages and non-game attendance at School2 were associated with self-reported heavy episodic drinking and higher levels of estimated BrAC (p<0.05). Given the widespread participation in heavy episodic drinking among both students and non-students in this sample, public health interventions should be implemented both on- and off-campus to promote safety and to discourage heavy episodic drinking at American football games and other high-profile sporting events.

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