Doping in young athletes: incidence and antecedents

Engelberg, Terry, Moston, Stephen, and Skinner, James (2014) Doping in young athletes: incidence and antecedents. In: Abstracts from the 22nd Conference of the European Association for Sport Management. pp. 110-111. From: EASM 2014: 22nd Conference of the European Association for Sport Management Annual, 9-12 September 2014, Coventry, UK.

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If anti-doping campaigners can identify dopers before they engage in such behaviour, then it may be possible to prevent future misconduct. However, one of the biggest challenges for anti-doping administrators is how to deter young athletes from doping. Whilst anti-doping interventions should be targeted at all athletes, it is possible that the limited resources given to such efforts, could be more effectively utilised if those athletes most at risk of doping could be identified and anti-doping efforts tailored to such individuals. The study aims to assess the incidence of PED use in a large sample of young elite athletes (aged 12 to 17 years at the commencement of the study) and to identify the demographic and psychological characteristics that underpin such behaviour. Despite widespread recognition that prevention, rather than detection, remains the best strategy for eliminating drug use in sport (Morente-Sanchez & Zabala, 2013), anti-doping research has typically studied only elite adult athletes. The importance of studying young athletes has been highlighted by the frequency with which drug use in young athletes has been observed. There is evidence suggesting that athletes as young as 12 years of age use performance enhancing drugs (Lucidi, Grano, Leone, Lombardo, & Pesce, 2004). Research has also suggested that individual characteristics of athletes (such as level of moral development) and the social environment are possibly important predictors of both usage of, and attitudes towards, performance enhancing drugs (Gucciardi, Jalleh, & Donovan, 2011).

The study utilised a cohort-sequential method (also called a longitudinal-sequential design). In this design each participant completed a questionnaire three times (once each in 2011, 2012 and 2013). A key advantage of this design over a cross-sectional design is that changes in attitudes and behaviours can be tracked within individuals, rather than inferring change between groups. Participants were recruited from the three high schools. All children (non-athletes and athletes) completed the survey in wave 1. This approach meant that the sports featured would be a broadly representative selection of those played by high school aged athletes, rather than adopting a sports specific recruitment strategy. There were 697 participants in wave 1. Of these 606 were retained for wave 2, and 538 for wave 3, giving an overall retention rate of 77.2%. The data were primarily analysed by cohort, with additional analyses exploring the links between demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, sport, etc.) also conducted.

Item ID: 40402
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: doping; young athletes; sport; performance enhancement
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Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2015 01:58
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