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Educational and sport factors as predictors of harmful alcohol drinking in adolescence: a prospective study in Bosnia and Herzegovina



The cause–effect relationship between educational and sport factors, and alcohol drinking in adolescents is rarely prospectively investigated. This study aimed to establish the possible influence of sport, scholastic and socio-demographic factors on harmful alcohol drinking (HD) and the initiation of HD in adolescents from Bosnia–Herzegovina.


Study included 881 adolescents (49% females) and consisted of (1) baseline tests (16 years of age) and (2) follow-up testing (18 years of age). The independent variables were scholastic and sport-related factors. Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test was used, with the following dependent variables: (1) HD at baseline, (2) HD at follow-up, and (3) HD initiation. Logistic regressions were applied to define the relationships.


Higher likelihood of HD was evidenced in children who performed poorly in school. Sport factors were positively correlated with HD at study baseline. Higher odds for HD initiation were found for adolescents who reported a lower GPA, a lower behavioral grade, more frequent school absences, and more unexcused school absences.


The results showed scholastic failure as the predictor of HD initiation. The potential influence of sport factors on HD initiation should be studied at an earlier age.

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Correspondence to Damir Sekulic.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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The study has been approved by the Ethics Board of the University of Mostar, School of Medicine Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. All data are anonymized to prevent any potential identification of individual respondents.

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This article is part of the special issue “Adolescent transitions”.

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Zenic, N., Terzic, A., Ostojic, L. et al. Educational and sport factors as predictors of harmful alcohol drinking in adolescence: a prospective study in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Int J Public Health 64, 185–194 (2019).

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  • Substances
  • Predictors
  • Puberty
  • Transition