Open Access

Sport, Physical Activity and (Harmful) Alcohol Drinking in University Students During the First Year After COVID-19 Pandemic: Gender-Stratified Cross-Sectional Study


Introduction. COVID-19 pandemic increased consumption of alcohol (including harmful drinking – HD), and decreased physical activity levels (PAL) globally, but there is an evident lack of studies examining the problem in the post-pandemic period. This study aimed to evaluate gender-specific associations between sport participation and PAL (independent variables), and HD (dependent variable) among college/university students during the first post-pandemic year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Material and Methods. The participants were college/university students, aged 18 to 21 years (n = 788; 409 females) from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They were tested on socio-demographic factors, HD (using the AUDIT scale), sport participation and PAL (using the IPAQ questionnaire). Analysis of variance, Chi square test, and t-test for independent samples were used to evaluate differences, while logistic regression with dichotomized criterion (HD vs. non-harmful drinking – NHD) was calculated to establish associations between independent and dependent variables.

Results. T-test indicated significant differences between HD and NHD in PAL (t-test = 2.16, p = 0.02), but only in males. Also, logistic regression indicated a significant correlation between PAL and HD in males (OR: 1.41, 95%CI: 1.11-1.76), while no association was evidenced: (i) between sport participation and HD (in both males and females), and (ii) between PAL and HD (in females).

Conclusions. Results indicated that an overall increase in PAL could be helpful in decreasing HD among college/university students; however, to evaluate it more specifically, prospective analyses are needed.

Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Clinical Medicine, Public Health, Sports and Recreation, other