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Drugs, alcohol, and addiction in sport


Palmer, C, Drugs, alcohol, and addiction in sport, Research in the Sociology of Sport, 11 pp. 111-126. ISSN 1476-2854 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

DOI: doi:10.1108/S1476-285420180000011008


Purpose - To outline the paradoxes and contradictions inherent in debates about sport, alcohol, and addiction. It appears that a growing number of sportspeople suffer from addiction to alcohol and other drugs while at the same time alcohol use is widely sanctioned and celebrated in sport. The high-profile falls from grace are a public display of a more insidious, problematic relationship to drugs and alcohol in sport, yet cultural change is often difficult given long standing associations between sport and alcohol.

Design/Method/Approach - In the first part of the chapter, the key themes in the drugs, alcohol, and sport debate (notably health and ethics) are discussed. In the second part, some of the relationships between sport and alcohol, such as sponsorship and the cultural sanctioning of particular forms of drinking and masculine identities are examined. In the third, the issues of drug and alcohol addiction and recovery, and the implications for sport and sporting identities are discussed.

Findings - The chapter reveals the tensions that underpin the social contexts of drug and alcohol use and misuse in sport. The chapter suggests that a recalibration of popular understandings of masculinity in sport may provide a safe space through which to share battles with alcohol and addiction.

Research Limitations/Implications - Discussion of the paradoxes and contradictions inherent in the relationships between sport and alcohol have important implications for a discussion and analysis of addiction and alcohol in sport, and for sport and social policy, health promotion, and social care more broadly.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:alcohol, addiction, masculinity, health, stigma, recovery
Research Division:Indigenous Studies
Research Group:Other Indigenous studies
Research Field:Other Indigenous studies not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Sport, exercise and recreation
Objective Field:Organised sports
UTAS Author:Palmer, C (Professor Catherine Palmer)
ID Code:128769
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-10-11
Last Modified:2019-09-09

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