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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Sport Sciences

First Advisor

Lara Killick

First Committee Member

Mike Dalgety

Second Committee Member

Daniel Rhind

Third Committee Member

Pete Schroeder


Many research studies have identified high drinking rates amongst US student-athletes, yet there has been limited exploration into the social value of alcohol practices within this context. Drawing on Bandura's Social Learning Theory framework (1977) and the work of Palmer (2011), this study sought to explore student-athlete drinking practices and the social value of said practices to better understand why high drinking rates may occur. The participants were 65 student-athletes enrolled at Mason University, a NCAA Division I University located on the west coast. The study employed mixed methods, which combined quantitative (online questionnaire) and qualitative (interview) tools. Findings revealed that (a) student-athletes remain at high risk of heavy drinking practices; (b) the social value of alcohol was demonstrated, specifically in its use as a socialization tool; and (c) drinking practices were influenced by varied team drinking cultures, which may have significant effects on team cohesion. Implications from this investigation speak to the necessity of more team specific interventions and gives recommendations for future research investigating the social value of alcohol in team drinking cultures.





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