Hughes, CJ, The paradoxical place of alcohol in rural community sporting clubs: An Australian case study, Journal of Rural and Community Development, 7, (2) pp. 142-151. ISSN 1712-8277 (In Press) [Refereed Article]
Copyright 2012 Author
Official URL: http://www.jrcd.ca/viewarticle.php?id=668&layout=abstract
There is a longstanding and problematic connection between alcohol consumption and sport. Drinking often features heavily in post-sport celebrations for participants and spectators alike, and many sporting events and clubs are reliant on alcohol-industry sponsorship and/or alcohol-derived income. Yet community sporting clubs also promote �healthy lifestyles�. The aim of this article is to present selected results from an Australian scoping study on alcohol in community sporting clubs, with a particular focus on members� views on the place of alcohol in club culture and their receptiveness to various harm-minimisation strategies. The Knowing the Score project was conducted in Tasmania and involved a survey of 700 individuals associated with 31 sporting clubs including the Australian Football League, basketball, bowls, golf, hocky, netball and soccer. Overall, 42% of participants from licensed clubs reported that alcohol was �very important� or �important� for celebrating after a match/game. Alcohol was considered �very important� or �important� for clubs� financial wellbeing by 74% of AFL club participants and 64% of bowls participants. Alcohol was the most commonly identified problematic drug, across all sports. With respect to harm-minimisation strategies, participants indicated the most support for designated driver programs and the least support for banning alcohol sponsorship. Alcohol occupies a paradoxical place in many community sporting clubs. It is recognised as problematic, yet its consumption remains a highly valued aspect of club culture. Efforts of clubs to implement harm-minimisation strategies may be hampered by lack of support from members and a deficient evidence base, and rural clubs may be additionally impeded by limited public transport and other factors. Community sporting clubs are, however, well positioned to promote behavioural/cultural change with respect to alcohol use.
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