The Relationship Between Handball Players and Alcohol and Smoking Habits

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Hrvoje Karnincic, Marijana Cavala, Nenad Rogulj

Recent studies have revealed that sport activity is a protective factor regarding smoking, but a risk factor for alcohol abuse. Considering these findings, it is necessary to investigate the occurrence of substance misuse. Sports that are associated with a substantial amount of physical/mental stress are very interesting from the perspective of substance misuse (e.g., handball). This research was performed to more closely study the population engaged in handball regarding the risk for alcohol and/or tobacco consumption. The sample of respondents consisted of 150 senior handball players who were members of 9 first-league handball clubs from Croatia and abroad. The respondents were grouped into sub-samples according to sex, age, experience, the number of weekly training sessions and their social environment (clubs). Alcohol consumption data were obtained using the AUDIT questionnaire. The differences between groups were tested using the Kruskal-Wallis and Mann-Whitney U tests. The study revealed that handball players engaged in alcohol misuse, and they were grouped in the harmful drinking category (AUDIT score, 16-19 for all groups). Regarding tobacco product consumption, the risk groups were women (who smoked significantly more than men, MWU test: Z = 3.30. p < 0.001), handball players with less experience (who smoked significantly more than experienced players, MWU test: Z = 3.68, p < 0.001). Borderline significance was observed for the impact made by social environments, and age was not a significant predictor of tobacco consumption. Regarding alcohol consumption, the highest hazard group were national handball players, who drank much more than foreign players did (MWU test: Z = 2.04, p = 0.04); however, sex, age, experience and training habits were not alcohol consumption predictors in handball. This study reveal that the typical behaviors regarding alcohol and tobacco consumption followed by the general population do not apply to handball players. Targeted prevention can be much more precisely established considering this research.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2018-0013
Key words
sports, substance abuse, prevention

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