Preliminary insight into NAIA student athletes' substance use and abuse : a replication study of the NCAA student-athlete substance use survey

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Abbe, Allison A.
Moore, Matthew Allen
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Thesis (M.A.)
School of Kinesiology
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This study conducted the first-ever investigation into The National Association of Intercollegiate Athlete (NAIA) substance use and abuse behaviors. The NAIA does not currently have data available on the alcohol, drug, and tobacco use among their 65,000 student-athletes competing across 250 member schools. As evident in the work of the NCAA (2017), the NAIA understands there are potential alcohol, drug, and tobacco use and abuse challenges impacting the biopsychosocial development of their athletes. These are challenges that can impact an athlete in a number of ways, some far-reaching one’s time at a university (NSDUH, 2018). The current study replicated the NCAA Student-Athlete Substance Use Survey with a sample of NAIA student-athletes. One key finding within the study was that NAIA college athletes had significantly higher electronic cigarette consumption than NCAA athletes. Another major finding was that NAIA athletes used LSD significantly more than NCAA athletes. Furthermore, NAIA and NCAA team sports were most likely to engage in substance use. This study allows NAIA members as well as the national office staff to gain a clearer picture of student-athlete needs and next steps for promoting necessary, holistic athlete health and safety measures. Additionally, these results can help the NAIA create additional comparisons between their student athletes, NCAA student-athletes, and the larger non-athlete college population. This is the first study to date to compare NCAA athletes, NAIA athletes, and the overall college student population.