22 Apr 2010

Boozy behaviour of sports star doesn't cause young people drink more says study

6:39 pm on 22 April 2010

The boozy behaviour of sports stars doesn't seem to lead their young fans to drink more alcohol, new research suggests.

Rather there's much stronger evidence of a link between drinks companies sponsoring sporting events and heavy drinking in young people, according to a study carried out by Manchester University and the University of Western Sydney in Australia.

Over a thousand young people, completed questionnaires about how much they thought high-profile sports stars drank compared to their friends and also about their own drinking habits.

The lead researcher Kerry O'Brien says young people, don't appear influenced by the drinking habits of high-profile sportspeople but rather drink too much because they over-estimate how much their friends drink.

He says sports administrators are quick to condemn and punish individual sport stars for acting as poor role models when they're caught behaving drunkenly.

But he says there's stronger evidence of a relationship between alcohol-industry sponsorship, advertising and marketing within sport and hazardous drinking among young people than there is of the influence of sports stars drinking.