Doping in bodybuilders: A qualitative investigation of facilitative psychosocial processes

Doping in bodybuilders : A qualitative investigation of facilitative psychosocial processes / Ian D Boardley, Jonathan Grix. - (Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health 6 (2013) 3 (12 February); p. 422-439).
- DOI: 10.1080/2159676X.2013.766809


The current study was designed to investigate the psychosocial processes that support PED use in bodybuilders utilising Bandura’s (1991) social cognitive theory of moral thought and action. Participants were nine bodybuilders who had previously used or were currently using illicit performance-enhancing substances. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted to investigate the psychological and social processes that facilitated their introduction to, and continuation of, doping. Study data were content-analysed deductively using definitions for the eight mechanisms of moral disengagement (Bandura 19913. Bandura, A., 1991. Social cognitive theory of moral thought and action. In: W.M. Kurtines and J.L. Gewirtz, eds. Handbook of moral behavior and development: theory research and applications. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 71–129.View all references). However, evidence for only six mechanisms was present and a further three emergent themes were inductively coded. The six mechanisms evidenced were moral justification, euphemistic labelling, advantageous comparison, displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility and distortion of consequences. The three emergent themes related to the routinisation of doping, discussing doping with family and friends, and progression from supplement use to doping. All nine themes were discussed with reference to Bandura’s (1991) theory as well as the extant qualitative literature on doping in sport.

Original document


Research / Study
12 February 2013
Boardley, Ian David
Grix, Jonathan
United Kingdom
Other organisations
Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU)
University of Birmingham
Doping culture
Gym/fitness environment
Document category
Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
18 May 2020
Date of last modification
2 December 2021
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