Adolescent Worlds: Drug Use and Athletic Activity

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In an important new contribution to the sociological literature, M.F. Stuck explores both the place of sport in adolescent society and, more specifically, the ways that drug use or non-use fits into the lives of and is talked about by youths who participate in sports and those who do not. The study breaks new ground both in its subject matter and in its methodology--virtually no studies exist which deal with the question of drug usage among adolescent athletes and most previous studies of adolescent drug use rely on survey data rather than on the adolescents' own descriptions of their drug use or non-use. In addition to examining specific questions related to adolescent drug use and sports, the author utilizes several theoretical perspectives drawn from sociology to illuminate the study findings: Sutherland's theory of differential association; Cohen's notion of the concept of subcultures; and the social control theories of Hirschi and Sykes and Matza. Throughout, Stuck focuses particularly upon how the actors--the adolescents themselves--explain drug use or non-use and involvement or non-involvement in sports. The study begins by introducing appropriate literature in sociology and the sociology of sport and goes on to describe the research methodology. The bulk of the volume is devoted to an extended analysis of the findings. Among the specific questions examined are: What is the meaning of sport in the lives of the adolescents in the study? Is the popular conception that sports and clean living go hand in hand upheld? What are the explanations offered by adolescents regarding their drug use? Is sport a form of individually chosen social control? What part does the peer group play in an adolescent's social world? Is involvement in sport a mechanism for the prevention or limitation of drug use among adolescents? Stuck concludes by offering broad policy recommendations based on the study's findings. Students and professionals in the fields of sociology-sport, deviance, qualitative methodology-adolescent psychology, and education will find this volume enlightening reading.