Inside athletes' minds: preliminary results from a pilot study on mental representation of doping and potential implications for anti-doping

Petroczi, Andrea, Mazanov, Jason and Naughton, Declan (2011) Inside athletes' minds: preliminary results from a pilot study on mental representation of doping and potential implications for anti-doping. Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention, and Policy, 6(10), ISSN (online) 1747-597X

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Background Despite the growing body of literature and putative links between the use of ergogenic nutritional supplements, doping and illicit drugs, it remains unclear whether, in athletes' minds, doping aligns with illicit behaviour or with functional use of chemical or natural preparations. To date, no attempt has been made to quantitatively explore athletes' mental representation of doping in relation to illegality and functionality. Methods A convenience sample of student athletes from a large South-Eastern Australian university responded to an online survey. Competitive athletes (n=46) were grouped based on self-reported use as follows: i) none used (30%), ii) supplement only (22%), iii) illicit only (26%) and iv) both supplements and illicit drug use (22%). Whereas no athlete reported doping, data provided on projected supplement-, doping- and drug use by the four user groups allowed evaluation of doping-related cognition in the context of self reported supplement- and illicit drug taking behaviour; and comparison between these substances. Results A significantly higher prevalence estimation was found for illicit drug use and a trend towards a biased social projection emerged for supplement use. Doping estimates by user groups showed mixed results, suggesting that doping had more in common with the ergogenic nutritional supplement domain than the illicit drug domain. Conclusions Assessing the behavioural domain to which doping belongs to in athletes' minds would greatly advance doping behaviour research toward prevention and intervention. Further investigation refining the peculiarity of the mental representation of doping with a larger study sample, controlling for knowledge of doping and other factors, is warranted.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: anabolic-steroid use, multiple-drug use, nutritional supplements, sports participation, false consensus, substance use, high-school, adolescents, prevalence, UK
Research Area: Allied health professions and studies
Faculty, School or Research Centre: Faculty of Science (until 2011) > School of Life Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Declan Naughton
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2011 10:26
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2012 21:54

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