Background: Adolescence is a transitory developmental period of life during which a number of biological and psychosocial changes take place as experimenting with substance use, for instance. A number of personal and environmental factors may contribute to substance use, among others those may be linked to adolescence, such as increased risk-taking and sensation-seeking. Aim: The main goal of our study was to examine characteristics of impulsivity, risk-taking, empathy, and self-efficacy in light of adolescents' smoking and drinking behaviors and gender, and to compare groups of athletes and non-athletes. Method: Data collection was conducted in Debrecen (Hungary) during the first semester of the year 2012 including classes from three high schools (N = 413), 214 (51.8%) students from sports faculty and 199 (48.2%) from normal classes. The self-administered questionnaires contained items on sports-related questions and personality traits beyond sociodemographics. Results: Based on descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression analyses we found that adolescent substance use was primarily related to impulsivity. It was also confirmed that athletes' impulsivity and risk-taking showed greater levels that may be linked to their higher rates of alcohol and cigarette use. Conclusions: Our data support the idea that beyond providing information there is also a need for preparing adolescents' for high risk situations to help them cope with these challenges effectively.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health