Coping by doping? A qualitative inquiry into permitted and prohibited substance use in competitive rugby

Coping by doping? A qualitative inquiry into permitted and prohibited substance use in competitive rugby / Faye F. Didymus, Susan H. Backhouse. - (Psychology of Sport and Exercise 49 (2020) 101680 (9 March). - https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2020.101680
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Abstract

Objectives
Despite a growing body of literature examining the social psychology of doping in sport, stressors and coping as potential doping risk and or protective factors have received scant attention. The aim of this study was to explore permitted and prohibited substances when coping with stressors among a sample of rugby players.

Design
Underpinned by our relativist ontology and our constructionist epistemological position, we conducted a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews.

Methods
Following criterion-based sampling, we interviewed three women and eight men (Mage = 22.64, SD = 2.66 years) who were competing in rugby league (n = 7) or rugby union (n = 4) at national level one or above in the United Kingdom. We recursively used six phases of reflexive thematic analysis to analyze the data, and enhanced rigor by focusing on a worthy topic, coherence, rich rigor, credibility, and making a significant contribution.

Results
The sampled players used permitted and prohibited substances to cope with stressors (e.g., injury, pressure to perform, selection) and perceived these substances to be helpful during injury rehabilitation; to facilitate sleep, performance, recovery, and selection; and to adjust bodyweight and composition. The health risks of permitted and prohibited substances, anti-doping rules, parents, and the athlete’s persona had both protective and vulnerability roles.

Conclusions
The findings highlight the rugby players’ diminished capacities to anticipate, cope with, resist, and recover from the surroundings, opportunities, and conditions that promote potentially harmful permitted and prohibited substance use in rugby. Collective and coordinated action should be taken to reduce player vulnerability.

Parameters:

Science
Study
Date:
9 March 2020
People
Backhouse, Susan H.
Didymus, Fay F.
Country
United Kingdom
Language
English
Sport/IFs
Rugby - World Rugby
Other organisations
Leeds Beckett University (LBU)
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  • ADRV
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  • Analytical aspects
  • Doping classes
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  • Various
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