Determinants of intentions for doping in sports in youth: Empirical study and prevention intervention in adolescent athletes (DIDIS-Youth)
Building on the foundation laid in the DIDIS study, this research explores the factors influencing the doping use in adolescent athletes. It concludes that proximal and distal predictors are risk factors for doping behaviours, emphasizing the role of the former. The study can inform educational strategies designed to prevent doping behaviours in adolescent athlete populations.
The study follows a cross-sectional design and is based on a questionnaire administered to a sample of six hundred and fifty (650) adolescent athletes competing in both individual and team sports. The questionnaire included demographic information, social desirability, achievement goals, motivational regulations, sportspersonship orientations, social cognitions, and anticipated regret.
The researchers identified proximal (i.e., outcome expectancies, social norms, and self-efficacy beliefs) and distal predictors as risk factors for doping behaviours, with the former being the most impactful in the decision-making process and mediating the effect of the latter. Out of 4.2 percent of adolescent athletes that admitted to the use of prohibited substances, the majority was more approving of doping than the rest of the sample, seeing doping as beneficial in some circumstances. Finally, the researchers found that the moral climate of the team influence the intention to dope.
Having identified the risk factors with respect to doping in the populations of adolescent athletes, this research can help inform educational strategies targeting that group. It can also advise other academics and practitioners on a more effective use of the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) in the process of designing programs aimed at preventing doping.
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