To dope or not to dope: Elite athletes’ perceptions of doping deterrents and incentives

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt

  • Marie Birch Overbye
  • Mette Lykke Knudsen
  • Gertrud Ursula Pfister
tAim: This study aims to examine the circumstances which athletes say affect their (hypothetical) consid-erations of whether to dope or not and explore the differences between athletes of different gender, ageand sport type.Methods: 645 elite athletes (mean age: 22.12; response rate: 43%) representing 40 sports completed aweb-based questionnaire. Participants were asked to imagine themselves in a situation in which theyhad to decide whether to dope or not to dope and then evaluate how different circumstances would affecttheir decisions.Results: Multiple circumstances had an effect on athletes’ hypothetical decisions. The most effective deter-rents were related to legal and social sanctions, side-effects and moral considerations. Female athletesand younger athletes evaluated more reasons as deterrents than older, male athletes. When confrontedwith incentives to dope, the type of sport was often a more decisive factor. Top incentives were related toqualified medical assistance, improved health or faster recovery from injury, the low risk of being caughtand the threat posed to an elite career.Conclusions: Our results reveal that numerous circumstances affect athletes’ thoughts on doping andathletes of different gender, age and sport type reacted differently to a variety of circumstances that maypotentially deter or trigger doping. Particularly notable findings were the potential role of doctors inathletes’ doping and that the current punitive anti-doping approach seems to deter athletes, althoughthe fear of social sanctions was almost as great a deterrent.Implications: Anti-doping prevention strategies should be diversified to target specific groups of athletes.
TidsskriftPerformance Enhancement & Health
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)119-134
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2013

Bibliografisk note

CURIS 2013 NEXS 286

ID: 49565981