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Athletes’ and coaches’ perceptions of deterrents to performance-enhancing drug use
journal contributionposted on 18.07.2018, 00:00 by Stephen MostonStephen Moston, T Engelberg, J Skinner
Policies to prevent performance-enhancing drug use in sport are implicitly based on a form of deterrence theory, whereby the threat of sanctions deters prohibited behaviour. While deterrents generally fail to deter serious criminal actions, criminological research suggests that deterrents can be effective with certain types of offences or offenders. This study explored the perceptions of elite athletes (n = 488) and coaches (n = 92) of two forms of deterrents to performance-enhancing drug use (legal and material loss sanctions) and a range of other anti-doping policy issues. There were marked differences in the perceived deterrent effect for athletes and coaches, with coaches consistently seeing deterrents as less credible than athletes. Both groups endorsed sanctions for the coaches and clubs of doping athletes and expressed support for the withdrawal of commercial and government sponsorship for such athletes. Findings are discussed in relation to the increasing focus of anti-doping campaigns towards elite coaches rather than athletes.