May 1, 2009
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WADA-Funded Social Science Research Project recommends Strategies for Effective Anti-Doping Prevention

A recently completed WADA-funded social science research study conducted by researchers from the Carnegie Research Institute of the Leeds Metropolitan University, in the UK, made a number of interesting recommendations to further enhance anti-doping prevention programs.

This research, titled “Prevention through Education: A Review of Current International Social Science Literature,” reviewed a number of prevention programs across four social domains (bullying, alcohol, tobacco and social drug use) in order to identify the factors that have been determined as the most successful approaches to date in their respective domains.

Its findings highlighted a number of lessons learned and recommendations that might be applied to anti-doping prevention programs. Those should in particular be:

• Targeted at young people and adolescents when attitudes and values are being formed.
• Tailored to fit the target population (e.g., risk factors, developmental).
• Interactive and emphasizing active participation (e.g., role-plays, discussions).
• Derived from social influence approaches and focused on developing core life skills (e.g., communication, decision-making, refusal skills) as knowledge dissemination alone is ineffective in changing behaviour.
• Monitored and delivered with high degrees of fidelity, ensuring that program implementation is as directed.
• Delivered by well trained individuals who, demonstrably, deliver the program with high fidelity.
• Based on booster sessions delivered over a number of years. This reinforces and builds on intervention messages.

WADA’s Social Science Research Program, launched in 2005, aims to support the design of preventive anti-doping education programs using an evidence-based approach.

Click here to see the Leeds Metropolitan University research project and other WADA-funded social science research projects.