Contextual influences and athlete attitudes to drugs in sport

Contextual influences and athlete attitudes to drugs in sport / Aaron C.T. Smith, Bob Stewart, Sunny Oliver-Bennetts, Sharyn McDonald, Lynley Ingerson, Astair Anderson, Geoff Dickson, Paul Emery, Fiona Graetz. - (Sport Management Review 13 (2010) 3 (August); p. 181-197)

  • DOI: 10.1016/j.smr.2010.01.008


This article reports on 11 narrative-based case histories which sought to: (1) uncover the attitudes of players and athletes to drugs in sport, and (2) explore contextual factors influencing the formation of those attitudes as informed by social ecology theory. Overall, participants viewed the use of banned performance-enhancing substances as cheating, ‘hard’ non-performance-enhancing recreational or illicit substances as unwise, legal non-performance-enhancing substances as acceptable, and legal performance-enhancing substances as essential. In short, attitudes were sometimes quite libertarian, and contingent upon first, the legality of the substance, and second, its performance impact. Results also indicated that athletes’ attitudes about drugs were fundamentally shaped by sport's culture. Other significant factors included its commercial scale, closely identifiable others, early experiences and critical incidents of players and athletes, and their level of performance.

Original document


2 March 2010
Anderson, Astair
Dickson, Geoff
Emery, Paul
Graetz, Fiona
Ingerson, Lynley
McDonald, Sharyn
Oliver-Bennetts, Sunny
Smith, Aaron C.T.
Stewart, Bob
New Zealand
Other organisations
Auckland University of Technology (AUT)
Deakin University
La Trobe University
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) - RMIT University
Victoria University (Vic Uni)
Doping culture
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Scientific article
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Date generated
5 October 2020
Date of last modification
8 October 2020
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