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Athletes' perceptions of anti-doping sanctions: the ban from sport versus social, financial and self-imposed sanctions

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Marie Birch Overbye, Anne-Marie Elbe, Mette Lykke Knudsen, Gertrud Ursula Pfister

Today the main doping deterrence strategy is to ban athletes from sport if caught. This study examines whether Danish elite athletes perceive the ban as a deterrent and how they evaluate social, self-imposed and financial sanctions compared with the ban. Questionnaires were emailed to elite athletes from 40 sports (N = 645; response rate, 43%). Results showed that 78% of athletes regarded the ban as a deterrent. Older male athletes, however, did so to a lesser degree. Seventy-seven per cent, regardless of gender, age, sport type and previous experience of doping testing, viewed social sanctions as a greater deterrent than the ban. Many also considered self-imposed sanctions (54%) and financial consequences (47%) a greater deterrent. Four per cent considered neither the ban nor the presented alternatives a deterrent. The findings indicate that the ban from sport deters doping. Nevertheless, other deterrents seem to affect athletes more. The findings can be used to address future anti-doping education programmes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSport in Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)364-384
Number of pages21
StatePublished - 2015

ID: 127984986