Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 44 - 50

Research article
Attitudes and Motivations of Competitive Cyclists Regarding Use of Banned and Legal Performance Enhancers
Nkaku R. Kisaalita1,2, Michael E. Robinson1, 
Author Information
1 Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health, University of Florida, USA
2 Medical College of Georgia/Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Psychology Residency, USA

Michael E. Robinson
✉ Center for Pain Research and Behavioral Health, University of Florida, USA
Publish Date
Received: 01-08-2013
Accepted: 02-09-2013
Published (online): 20-01-2014
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Drug ‘doping’ and the use of banned performance enhancing products (PEPs) remains an issue in virtually all competitive sports despite penal consequences and known health risks. The lines distinguishing “fair” and “unfair” performance enhancement have become increasingly blurred. Few studies have explored how attitudes towards legal performance enhancers (drugs/substances, diet, and equipment modifications) may influence motivations to use banned PEPs. In the present study, 68 competitive cyclists completed a survey examining the importance of choosing banned and non-banned PEPs using World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) criteria. Results showed that over 60 percent of cyclists used non-banned PEPs while 8 percent used banned PEPs. Health was overall the most important factor in choosing a PEP while apprehension by a doping agency was least important. Mixed- model ANOVA analyses revealed that motivations to use banned PEPs were complex, as the importance of health, violating the sprit of the sport, performance improvement, and getting caught were differentially influenced by PEP legality (p < 0.001) and whether a cyclist endorsed non-banned PEP use (p < 0.001). The importance of winning, sponsorship, and maintaining competitiveness did not influence non-banned PEP use (p > 0.05). Our findings illustrate the multifactorial nature of PEP use/doping attitudes and highlight the unique role that “legal” performance enhancement may plays in influencing banned and/or unethical sports behaviors.

Key words: Doping, sports, ethics, health, WADA

           Key Points
  • Use of performance enhancers is high even among non-professional athletes
  • Cyclists overall rated “risk to health” as the most important factor in choosing to use a performance enhancing product.
  • Motivations to use banned performance enhancer are complex and are significantly influenced by whether an athlete utilizes “legal” performance enhancers.
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