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ALM Thesis at Harvard Extension School: Developmental Maturity, Psychological Resilience, and Alcohol Habits in College Students and NCAA Varsity Student-Athletes

Abstract: Do NCAA student-athletes, a high-risk population for alcohol abuse, demonstrate the same level of developmental maturity, resilience capacities, and levels of alcohol consumption over four years in college as their peers who are not involved in sports? Also, within these two collegiate sub-groups, is there a significant interaction between higher developmental maturity scores, resilience scores, and alcohol use? Affirmative answers to these questions may provide empirical evidence to support the implementation of adult educational curriculum in collegiate athletics, utilizing sports as a transformational tool and developmental context to support athletes’ maturation, growth, and well-being. Therefore, this study was interested in (1) examining if there are significant differences in developmental maturity, resilience capacity, and alcohol use between college student-athletes and college students, and (2) examining if there was a significant interaction on developmental maturity, resilience capacity, and alcohol use based upon athletic participation and graduation year. This study had a number of main findings including: (1) a significant effect for athletic participation on resilience scores, with student-athletes scoring higher than students, (2) a trend toward a significant effect for graduating class and a significant interaction between athletic participation and graduating class on resilience scores, (3) a significant effect for graduating class on developmental maturity scores for all participants and for student-athletes only, and (4) a significant inverse correlation between resilience scores and alcohol use for athletes only.

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Trevor Tierney