Healthcare Blog

Ethical Decision Making A Shot At Doping Prevention

March 23, 2017

Most doping prevention programmes aim to keep young athletes from using forbidden substances to enhance their athletic performance. This study, which is being funded by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) from 2009 until 2011, will analyze the effectiveness of a new approach in doping prevention focusing on ethical training. Ethical trainings in organizational psychology have shown to be a successful measure to prevent deviant behavior in businesses. However, so far its successful approach has not been transferred to the sport setting and this study is the first to do so.

This project will analyze if ethical training programs adapted to the field of sports and aimed at teaching ethical competencies can prevent doping and avoid deviant unfair behavior in sports.

Online doping prevention

During this project an online doping prevention program will be designed and its effectiveness in the prevention of doping in young elite athletes from a wide variety of individual and team sports aged 12 to 14 will be evaluated. Furthermore, it will be analyzed if a training of ethical decision-making is superior to a normal psychological education program in doping prevention.

In order to test this, ethical dilemmas young athletes might be confronted with during their career will be designed, and these dilemmas will help train the ethical decision making competencies of the young athletes. For example, a typical dilemma that will be presented in the online program is the situation of taking forbidden substances after an injury in order to be able to return to training quicker.

"The athletes will be instructed in different decision making styles and will receive feedback on the decision they make", explains Associate Professor Anne-Marie Elbe.

By giving the athletes feedback to e.g. rethink their decision or to name further alternatives their decision making skills will be strengthened.

The experimental groups will be compared with a waiting-control group in regard to the program's effectiveness and the athletes' ability to solve ethical dilemmas as they occur in sport contexts. Also a six month and one year follow up of the training will take place in order to test the sustainability of the training.


About the project

Funded by the World Anti Doping Agency (Social Science Research Grant) from 2009-2011 with 60.000 US Dollars.

Principal Investigator: Associate Professor Anne-Marie Elbe, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Main Collaborators: Ralf Brand, Marcus Melzer and Katharina Strahler, University of Potsdam, Germany

Source: Associate Professor Anne-Marie Elbe
University of Copenhagen