Home > A thematic analysis of alcohol use and culture amongst elite (intercounty) Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) players.

Mac Gearailt, Conall and Murphy, Colm and McCaffrey, Jack and Turk, Matthew and Murray, Kieran (2023) A thematic analysis of alcohol use and culture amongst elite (intercounty) Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) players. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 192, pp. 3169-3173. doi: 10.1007/s11845-023-03394-7.

External website: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11845-0...

BACKGROUND: There are limited studies examining alcohol consumption in Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) players. In a previous paper, we reported excess alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harms and binge drinking amongst elite GAA players. In that survey, the players were provided with an opportunity to provide comments on alcohol. This current study analyses these comments.

AIMS: The aim of this study was to provide a qualitative analysis of elite GAA players opinions on alcohol consumption, harms, behaviours and culture.

METHODS: An anonymous, web-based e-questionnaire was distributed to all registered adult elite (inter-county) GAA players. This analysed demographics, alcohol consumption, alcohol culture and alcohol-related harms. This paper is a thematic analysis of the players comments on alcohol in the GAA.

RESULTS: Seven hundred seventy-three of 3592 (21%) players responded. One hundred fifty-two respondents (21%) commented in the free text section of the survey regarding alcohol. One hundred eleven comments (73%) were suitable for analysis. Relevant themes were a pattern of abstinence and bingeing (n = 44), excess alcohol consumption (n = 40) and drinking bans contributing to a binge drinking culture (n = 37). There was a mixed attitude to alcohol sponsorship.

CONCLUSION: These data show players recognise intermittent binge drinking with periods of abstinence and alcohol-related harms. Further initiatives regarding alcohol harm reduction merit consideration including prohibition of alcohol sponsorship, similar to the GAA's ban on gambling.

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