The impact of education and employment on the sport-related drinking motives of professional footballers: a study of National Rugby League and New Zealand Super Rugby players
The Athlete Drinking Scale (ADS) measures an athlete’s sport-related motives for drinking alcohol (Martens, Watson, Royland & Beck, 2005). To date this scale has only been utilised with collegiate athletes. This study examines the validity and reliability of Martens et al.’s (2005) ADS in a professional sport context, identifies the sport-related drinking motives (SRDM) of professional rugby union players in New Zealand and rugby league players in Australia and New Zealand, identifies differences in the sport-related drinking motives of rugby union and league players, and identifies the impact of education, current non-sport employment, current education activity, age and experience on a professional athlete’s sport-related drinking motives. Using an expert panel, a modified version of the ADS was developed to suit the professional sport context. This survey also included questions that asked participants about their education history, current activity, current employment activity, year of birth and their debut year in their respective competitions. A sample of professional rugby union and league players (n = 193) were recruited from the National Rugby League or one of the five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to examine the reliability and validity of the ADS in this setting. Two further rounds of CFA, along with a thorough examination of the theoretical background of the ADS, produced a three factor, nine-item scale. Mean difference testing identified only three statistically significant results. Compared to rugby league players, rugby union players reported higher levels of both positive reinforcement and team/group motives. The other statistically significant result was that players who were currently not involved in education reported higher positive reinforcement scores than players involved currently in education.
The revised ADS was proven to be an effective measurement tool for measuring the SRDM of professional rugby league and union players. After the analysis, the respondents of this study were found to have identified SRDM consistent with previous uses of the scale in different settings. Whilst rugby union players cited positive reinforcement and team/group motives significantly higher than their rugby league counterparts, little evidence has emerged from this research project that links respondent’s education history, along with their education and employment activity to their SRDM.