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Alcohol, Social Ecology, College, Athletes
College athletes consume more alcohol and experience more alcohol-related consequences than non-athlete populations. Freshman athletes are at an even higher risk for alcohol-related problems as they learn to deal with the demands of college athletics. Researchers have suggested that the development of appropriate alcohol policy may be a useful strategy to reduce alcohol problems among athletes; however, study results are inconclusive. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of team, athletic department, and university policy on college athletes’ alcohol consumption. A survey of 263 college freshman athletes from two NCAA universities measured alcohol consumption and perception of alcohol policies at the university, athletic department, and team levels. Results indicated that athletes who abstain from alcohol were more likely to believe in strong enforcement and the desire for greater policy restrictions at the university, athletic department, and team levels. Results also revealed differences in alcohol consumption patterns between team vs. individual sports. These findings suggest a need to develop extensive, strictly enforced alcohol policies to influence alcohol behavior of college freshman athletes.