Attitudes Toward and Susceptibility to Doping in Spanish Elite and National-Standard Track and Field Athletes: An Examination of the Sport Drug Control Model

Attitudes Toward and Susceptibility to Doping in Spanish Elite and National-Standard Track and Field Athletes : An Examination of the Sport Drug Control Model / Elena García-Grimau, Ricardo De la Vega, Rafael De Arce, Arturo Casado. - (Frontiers in Psychology 12 (2021) 679001 (June); p. 1-9)

  • PMID: 34168599
  • PMCID: PMC8219072
  • DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.679001


The Sport Drug Control Model (SDCM) is likely to be the model which most explicitly represents the theoretical paradigm of the psychological study of the use of doping in sport. This model can be further developed through its analysis in different populations and cultures. The main aim of this study was to empirically test the SDCM while analyzing for the first time the intentions and attitudes toward doping in Spanish track and field athletes. A secondary aim was to assess the extent to which the variables in the model together predict attitude, susceptibility, and behavior toward the use of performance-enhancing substances. Participants were 281 Spanish elite and national-standard track and field athletes from whom 80.1% were 18-28 years old and 49.5% were females. Participants completed the SDCM questionnaire measuring morality, legitimacy, benefits appraisal, threat appraisal, self-efficacy to refrain from doping, reference groups' endorsement of doping methods/substances, use of legal supplements, availability and affordability of doping, attitudes toward doping, susceptibility to doping and, self-reported use of banned performance-enhancing substances or methods. Structural equation modeling supported a good fitness of the SDCM and confirmed that positive attitudes toward doping predicted high susceptibility to doping (β = 0.55, p < 0.001), which is in turn associated with the use of prohibited substances and methods (β = 0.12, p < 0.05). The factors that have most influence on attitudes toward doping are morality (β = 0.46, p < 0.001) and reference group opinion (β =0.62, p <0.001). Self-reported doping use was 9.6%. These findings confirm SDCM reproducibility and variability (as it accounts for several variables) in Spanish track and field competitive athletes. It is recommended to implement preventive programs which allow athletes to acquire a strong moral stance against doping and coaches to employ the tools required to instill and educate their athletes in rejecting these illegal practices that corrupt the integrity of competitive sport.

Original document


Research / Study
8 June 2021
Casado, Arturo
De Arce, Rafael
de la Vega, Ricardo
Garcia-Grimau, Elena
Legal Terms
Anti-Doping policy
Athletics (WA) - World Athletics
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Agencia Española de Protección de la Salud en el Deporte (AEPSAD) - Spanish Agency for the Protection of Health in Sport
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) - Autonomous University of Madrid
Universidad Isabel I - University Isabella I
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC) - King Juan Carlos University
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Scientific article
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Date generated
15 July 2021
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