A call for policy guidance on psychometric testing in doping control in sport

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

  • Andrea Petróczi
  • Susan H. Backhouse
  • Vassilis Barkoukis
  • Ralf Brand
  • Anne-Marie Elbe
  • Lambros Lazuras
  • Fabio Lucidi
One of the fundamental challenges in anti-doping is identifying athletes who use, or are at risk of using, prohibited performance enhancing substances. The growing trend to employ a forensic approach to doping control aims to integrate information from social sciences (e.g., psychology of doping) into organised intelligence to accelerate the pursuit of clean sport. Beyond the foreseeable consequences of a positive identification as a doping user, this task is further complicated by the discrepancy between what constitutes a doping offence in the World Anti-Doping Code and operationalized in doping research. Whilst psychology plays an important role in developing our understanding of doping behaviour in order to inform intervention and prevention, its contribution to the array of doping diagnostic tools is still in its infancy. At the same time, we must acknowledge that socially desirable responding confounds self-reported psychometric test results. Further, the cognitive complexity surrounding test performance means that the response-time based measures and the lie detector tests for revealing concealed life-events (e.g., doping use) are prone to produce false or non-interpretable outcomes in field settings. Differences in social-cognitive characteristics of doping behaviour that are tested at group level (doping users vs. non-users) cannot be extrapolated to individuals; nor these psychometric measures used for individual diagnostics. In this paper, we present a position statement calling for policy guidance on appropriate use of psychometric assessments in the pursuit of clean sport. We argue that both self-reported and response-time based psychometric tests for doping have been designed, tested and validated to explore how athletes feel and think about doping in order to develop a better understanding of doping behaviour, not to establish evidence for doping. A false ‘positive’ psychological profile for doping (or even failing to produce a definite negative profile) affects not only the individual ‘clean’ athlete but also their entourage, their organisation and sport itself. The proposed policy guidance aims to protect the global athletic community against social, ethical and legal consequences from potential misuse of psychological tests, including applications as forensic diagnostic tools in both practice and research.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Udgave nummer11
Sider (fra-til)1130-1139
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2015

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2015 NEXS 313

ID: 137100866