Why athletes say no to doping: A qualitative exploration of the reasons underpinning athletes' decision not to dope

Áine MacNamara*, Dave Collins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Athletes' motives for choosing not to use performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) are likely to be diverse and complex, including a consideration of biological factors (e.g., performance advantage), psychological characteristics (e.g., risk taking behaviour), and the athlete's social environment (e.g., the opinion and influence of significant others). As such, a multifactorial (bio, psycho, and social) evaluation is important when examining the reasons against usage. The purpose of this study was to examine the reasons athletes cite for not using PEDs. A phenomenological approach was employed and data were collected from athletes (. n =. 36) and coaches (. n =. 10) using semi-structured interviews and analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Personal and moral standards were identified as key factors that led to decisions to avoid PED. Psychological and social factors (e.g., the role of significant others such as the coach) also play significant roles in decisions to avoid doping. Although anti-doping testing and education is central to anti-doping strategy, athletes' decision not to dope was made independent of, or at least not contingent on these structures. As such, these findings have the potential to inform educational initiatives designed to combat doping in sport outside the usual emphasis on sanctions and testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalPerformance Enhancement and Health
Volume3
Issue number3-4
Early online date28 Oct 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Anti-doping strategy
  • Biopsychosocial
  • Cheating
  • Decision-making
  • Qualitative

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