Doping in sport : attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of competitive high-school athletes in Gauteng Province

05 Nov 2014

OBJECTIVE. To determine the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of talented young athletes residing in Gauteng regarding prohibited performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and anti-doping rules and regulations. METHODS. This was a survey study using a quantitative research approach. South African TuksSport academy athletes at the High Performance Centre, University of Pretoria, and competitive high-school athletes at four private high schools in Gauteng completed the survey. A selfdetermined, structured questionnaire was used to establish the attitudes, beliefs and knowledge of the athletes. RESULTS. A total of 346 (208 males, 138 females) athletes, mean (standard deviation) age 16.9 (1.4) years participated in the survey. According to this survey, 3.9% of the athletes in this survey admitted to using a prohibited PED and more than 14.0% of the athletes said they would consider using a prohibited PED if they knew they would not get caught. Ambition (46.0%) and emotional pressure (22.5%) were the primary reasons why the athletes would consider using prohibited PEDs. Even though coaches appeared to be one of the main sources of information (on PEDs and anti-doping rules), only 42.1% of the athletes felt that they were well informed. CONCLUSION. Controlling doping by means of testing is important. However, it may be necessary to put more emphasis on changing attitudes towards doping and implementing additional educational programmes.