Australian athletes' knowledge of the WADA Prohibited Substances List and performance enhancing substances

Australian athletes' knowledge of the WADA Prohibited Substances List and performance enhancing substances / Rhonda Orr, Matthew Grassmayr, Rona Macniven, Anne Grunseit, Mark Halaki, Adrian Bauman

  • International Journal of Drug Policy 56 (June 2018); p. 45-45
  • PMID: 29550541
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2018.02.025


Background: This study investigated athlete knowledge of the World Anti-doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited Substances List and the effects of four well-known performance enhancing substances (PES).

Methods: A sample of 1925 elite and sub-elite athletes (mean age 20.6 years) completed a questionnaire about the banned status of 30 substances/methods and their knowledge of the effects of amphetamines, anabolic steroids, growth hormone and erythropoietin.

Results: Athletes showed limited understanding of the WADA Prohibited Substances List, scoring 32.2% correct, 36.3% incorrect, and 31.4% indicated they did not know the status of 30 substances. Responses of >50% correct were given for only eight substances/method: anabolic steroids, amphetamines, blood doping, erythropoietin, caffeine, vitamins/minerals, protein powders and iron. Athletes demonstrated moderate knowledge of the desired effects of the four PES (49% correct), but poor knowledge of their adverse effects (29% correct). Age, sex, ethnicity, professional/amateur status, and current competition level were significant predictors of the number of correct responses (r2 = 0.16, p < 0.05). Athletes most likely to provide correct responses were male, 19-22 year-olds, Caucasian, professional and international representatives.

Conclusion: This comprehensive study of anti-doping demonstrated that Australian athletes had limited knowledge of a wide range of substances and PES. Better targeted drug education towards younger and non-professional athletes and evaluation of current anti-doping programs are warranted.


Coaches and Support Staff
Education Program
Elite Athletes
Research / Study
15 March 2018
Bauman, Adrian
Grassmayr, Matthew
Grunseit, Anne
Halaki, Mark
Macnive, Nona
Orr, Rhonda
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WADA Prohibited List International Standard
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University of Sydney (USyd)
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Date generated
1 December 2021
Date of last modification
7 December 2021
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