Knowledge of the practice of doping: the views of athletes and support personnel

Engelberg, T. (2015) Knowledge of the practice of doping: the views of athletes and support personnel. In: Abstracts from the 2015 Australian Psychological Society Congress. From: 2015 APS: Australian Psychological Society Congress, 30 September - 2 October 2015, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

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Aim: In the last few years there has been a significant increase in the number social science research studies on anti-doping. Few studies have directly examined how athletes (and others) perceive anti-doping rules and processes, nor knowledge of doping practices. The aims of the present research are to assess current levels of doping knowledge amongst elite athletes and their support personnel (defined here as coaches and other support staff at the athlete's club or organisation), and to investigate knowledge of the practice of doping in Australian sport. Here the 'practice' of doping is defined as the commission of anti-doping rule violations.

Design: A mixed method approach, with an initial on-line survey, followed by in-depth interviews. Method: A total sample of 433 athletes, coaches and support staff completed an online survey, with 98 of those participants also completing a face-to face interview. Results: Attitudes toward doping were overwhelmingly negative, with both athletes and support personnel advocating strong sanctions for deliberate doping, with slightly greater leniency for cases of accidental doping. A wide range of strategies for avoiding the detection of doping were described, including evasion, test tampering and the use of making agents. There were major gaps in knowledge about doping amongst both athletes and support personnel, such as a poorunderstanding of the potential benefits of doping and a widespread perception that doping was a problem for 'other' sports, even though many expressed views that athletes or teams that they were directly competing against were currently doping.

Conclusion: Athletes and support staff share a number of potentially damaging expectancies about doping: specifically: doping is common (almost normalised in some sports), banned substances are relatively easy to obtain, and doping is unlikely to be detected. These expectancies, combined with a set of largely unrealistic expectations about the efficacy of both legal nutritional supplements and banned substances, suggest that current anti-doping campaigns are failing to deter doping. Instead, it is to be expected that doping will continue to proliferate amongst elite athletes, and also to become increasingly common amongst community level athletes and even non-athletes.

Item ID: 40905
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
Keywords: doping in sport; performance enhancing substances; athletes; coaches
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 03:25
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170114 Sport and Exercise Psychology @ 70%
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SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9501 Arts and Leisure > 950102 Organised Sports @ 100%
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