In March, The Journal of American College Health published a report on the link between energy drinks, athletics and risky behavior. The study's author, Kathleen Miller, an addiction researcher at the University of Buffalo, says it suggests that high consumption of energy drinks is associated with "toxic jock" behavior, a constellation of risky and aggressive behaviors including unprotected sex, substance abuse and violence.
The finding doesn't mean the drinks cause bad behavior. But the data suggest that regular consumption of energy drinks may be a red flag for parents that their children are more likely to take risks with their health and safety. "It appears the kids who are heavily into drinking energy drinks are more likely to be the ones who are inclined toward taking risks," Miller said.
Taking risks?? Sounds terrifying. What does "toxic jock" mean, exactly? Could it happen to my kid? Could be, according this abstract of Ms. Miller's article on BioWizard:
Wired: energy drinks, jock identity, masculine norms, and risk takingSo, energy drinks may cause your kid to start sports, risk-taking, and acting like a (I can barely bring myself to say it) a boy!
University at Buffalo, Research Institute on Addictions, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA.
OBJECTIVE: The author examined gendered links among sport-related identity, endorsement of conventional masculine norms, risk taking, and energy-drink consumption. PARTICIPANTS: The author surveyed 795 undergraduate students enrolled in introductory-level courses at a public university. METHODS: The author conducted linear regression analyses of energy-drink consumption frequencies on sociodemographic characteristics, jock identity, masculine norms, and risk-taking behavior. RESULTS: Of participants, 39% consumed an energy drink in the past month, with more frequent use by men (2.49 d/month) than by women (1.22 d/month). Strength of jock identity was positively associated with frequency of energy-drink consumption; this relationship was mediated by both masculine norms and risk-taking behavior. CONCLUSIONS: Sport-related identity, masculinity, and risk taking are components of the emerging portrait of a toxic jock identity, which may signal an elevated risk for health-compromising behaviors. College undergraduates' frequent consumption of Red Bull and comparable energy drinks should be recognized as a potential predictor of toxic jock identity.
PMID: 18400659 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
You'll find energy drink consequences for adults (women over forty in particular) over at Seized by Hope: Pestilential Post 40 Matriarchal Management Syndrome (PP40MMS), which may lead to Manic Mothering Mayhem or "3M" behaviors. Funny stuff. Go read - we'll wait.
(H/T: youchki, our fearless undercover corespondent, via email. His comment: "'Toxic Jock' syndrome. Pass the Ritalin. Testosterone detoxification must proceed.")