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Psychological and social correlates of doping attitudes among Italian athletes

International Journal of Drug Policy
DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2014.07.021
  • Psychological Correlates
  • Social Correlates
  • Drug Sport Attitude
  • Psychology


Abstract Background This study aims to identify the main psychological and social correlates of doping attitudes among Italian athletes. It is well recognized that athlete disposition and attitude towards doping is one of the factors responsible for doping behavior. Less is known, however, about the factors that sustain the level of athletes’ attitudes towards doping. The main psychological (i.e., perfectionism, sport motivation, self-confidence and life satisfaction) and social correlates (i.e., social network and contact with people who use sports drugs) of attitudes towards doping among Italian athletes are examined in this paper. Differences are hypothesized regarding the type of sport (resistance sport vs. non-resistance sport) and athlete participation in competitive sport (i.e., agonistics) or in non-competitive sport (i.e., amateurs) on the level of attitude towards doping. The research hypothesis is that each of these constructs affects the level of athletes’ attitudes toward doping. Methods Data were collected from a sample of athletes (N=109), aged from 15 to 45 (M=31.5; SD=13.78) recruited in a Sports Medicine Center. Socio-demographic information, attitude towards doping, psychological and social variables were assessed through self-report questionnaire. Results Hierarchical multiple regression showed that both psychological (i.e., extrinsic motivation, perfectionism) and social variables (i.e., athletes’ contact with doping users) were associated with athletes’ attitudes towards doping. Conclusions The results highlighted that athletes with excessive perfectionism, extrinsically motivated and who have contact with doping users have a positive attitude toward doping. Athletes who exhibit these characteristics should be considered at risk and monitored to prevent possible future sports drug use.

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