A qualitative analysis of the factors that protect athletes against doping in sport

A qualitative analysis of the factors that protect athletes against doping in sport / Kelsey Erickson, Jim McKenna, Susan H. Backhouse. - (Psychology of Sport and Exercise 16 (2015) 2 (January); p. 149-155)

  • DOI: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.03.007


Abstract:

Objective

To explore the protective factors against performance enhancing drug (PED) use in sport.

Design

Ten competitive athletes (M = 5, F = 5) representing five different sports (field hockey, boxing, football, triathlon, rugby) were recruited through convenience sampling to undertake a semi-structured interview to enable a qualitative analysis of athletes' lifelong athletic careers.

Method

Verbatim transcripts were analysed using an established three-stage coding process to identify the common themes within the narratives.

Results

Personal and situational protective factors were identified in the accounts. Personal factors included: (i) a strong moral stance against cheating; (ii) an identity beyond sport; (iii) self-control; and (iv) resilience to social group pressures. Situational factors included secure attachments to people at all stages of the athlete's life. This facilitated both the promotion of moral decision making and assisted in the development of anti-doping attitudes. When situational factors – such as a pro-doping climate – arose, key attachments in the athletes' lives interplayed with personal factors to reduce the risk of doping.

Conclusions

These findings offer insights into factors that protect competitive athletes against using PEDs in sport and further our understanding of the complex interaction between risk and protective factors at individual, psychosocial and societal levels among competitive athletes. As a complex behaviour, doping in sport cannot be prevented by solely focussing on the individual athlete; contextual factors beyond the athlete's control also impact on this behaviour. Thus, a paradigm shift is warranted to move beyond an athlete-centred approach to anti-doping.

Original document

Parameters

Science
Study
Date
13 April 2014
People
Backhouse, Susan H.
Erickson, Kelsey
McKenna, Jim
Country
United Kingdom
Language
English
Other organisations
Leeds Beckett University (LBU)
Document category
Scientific article
Document type
Pdf file
Date generated
30 August 2021
Date of last modification
1 September 2021
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