Overbye, Marie Birch4; Knudsen, Mette Lykke3; Pfister, Gertrud Ursula5
1 Sport, Individual & Society, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet3 unknown4 Department of Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet5 Sport, Individual & Society, Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
Elite athletes’ perceptions of doping deterrents and incentives
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.
Performance Enhancement and Health, 2013, Vol 2, Issue 3, p. 119-134