Athletes’ perceptions of performance enhancing substance user and non-user prototypes / L.Whitaker, J.Long, A. Petróczi, S.H.Backhouse. - (Performance Enhancement & Health 1 (2021) 1 (August); p. 28-34)
- DOI: 10.1016/j.peh.2012.03.002
This study explored athletes’ perceived prototypes of performance enhancing substance (PES) users and non-users to facilitate a broader understanding of the risk/protective factors for doping use.
A cross-sectional study was conducted involving n = 147 current/ex-competitive athletes. Following ethical approval, athletes (mean age = 25.51, SD = 8.47 years; 40.8% male) from 30 sports completed an online open-ended questionnaire. Participants were required to describe their perceived positive and negative images of PES users and non-users. Inductive content analysis established the main themes within the data.
The perceived prototypes of PES users and non-users were most commonly related to: motivation to succeed, confidence, commitment, temperament, fear of competition, rule abiding, reliability and sociability. Characteristically, PES users were seen as motivated, confident, unreliable and rule breakers, whereas non-users were perceived to be role models, reliable and risk averse.
The results suggest athletes’ perceptions of PES user characteristics may not be solely negative. Athletes who perceive PES user prototypes favourably may be vulnerable to dopingvia motivation that is elicited from future possible selves. Therefore, athletes’ perceptions of PES user and non-user prototypes may act as risk/protective factors for doping.
Tailored anti-doping should target athletes’ prototype perceptions to enhance the prevention of doping in sport.