Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Bradley Donohue

Second Committee Member

Kimberly Barchard

Third Committee Member

Daniel Allen

Fourth Committee Member

Brach Poston

Number of Pages



Student-athletes are a sub-population of college students that are likely to engage in binge drinking behavior and experience the negative consequences associated with alcohol use (Barry, Howell, Riplinger, & Piazza-Gardner, 2015; Nelson & Wechsler, 2001). In addition, participating in intercollegiate athletics comes with unique stressors not faced by non-athlete students, such as balancing academic responsibilities with athletic obligations, managing the strain associated with playing competitive sport, and navigating complex interpersonal relationships with coaches, teammates, and peers (Parham, 1993; Watson, 2002). However, there appears to be little research examining the relationship between alcohol risk and the specific stressors associated with being a student-athlete (Yusko, Buckman, White, & Pandina, 2008).

Therefore, the aim of this study was to examine the relationship between stress and alcohol use outcomes in 512 collegiate student-athletes using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). Prior to conducting the SEM analyses, a measure of student-athlete stress was developed and psychometrically evaluated using Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA). Seventy-two items were generated for this measure (Student-Athlete Stress Scale; SASS) based on a review of the literature and relevant clinical experiences with student-athletes. Two SEM models were tested. In the first model (Model A), it was hypothesized that a latent SASS variable would be related to risky alcohol use behavior, as measured by frequency of alcohol use and binge drinking. Similarly, in the second model (Model B), it was hypothesized that the same latent SASS variable would be related to greater endorsement of the negative consequences associated with alcohol use. In both models, the role of social norms as a moderator variable was examined. Results of the EFA revealed eight interpretable factors of the SASS (Balancing Responsibilities, Athlete Identity, Sport Injury, Coach-Athlete Relationships, Teammate-Athlete Relationships, Sport Motivation, Personal Finances, Academic Performance). Results of the SEM analyses reveled that Model A explained 43% of the variance in risky alcohol use. Similarly, Model B explained 27% of the variance. In Model A social norms and the interaction between student-athlete stress and social norms were significant predictors of risky alcohol use. In Model B, student-athlete stress, social norms, and the interaction between these two variables were all significant predictors of the negative consequences associated with alcohol use. However, inclusion of the interaction between student-athlete stress and social norms did not significantly improve model fit in either model.


Factor Analysis; Mental Health; Social Norms; Sport Psychology; Structural Equation Modeling; Substance Use


Clinical Psychology | Psychology

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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