THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN
ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS ON
DOPING IN SPORTS BASED ON
SURVEY RESULTS (PEAS) OF
TYLER A. WEAVER
INTRODUCTION OF THE PROBLEM
Doping has been around for centuries. Some ate brains, hearts and
livers of animals, while others consumed figs, wine, cheese, and even
mushrooms to later improve their performance at their Olympic Games
as far back as 3 B.C.
Stimulants were added to alcohol in the Roman era to help gladiators
recover more quickly from fatigue and injuries.
Some South American countries coca leaves were eaten to increase
endurance in competitions.
Performance enhancing substances were introduced through the diet
for hundreds of years, but it was not until the early 1900’s that
substances like strychnine were given to long distance runners.
It was not until 1963 that evidence was presented that drug restrictions
were needed and France was the first to enact the first anti-doping
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) published the first list of doping
classes in 1967 which paved the way for drug testing to be introduced on a wide
A substance or method will be prohibited if it meets any two of the following
criteria: (1) has the potential to enhance sports performance; (2) represents a
potential health risk to the athlete; (3) violates the spirit of the sport.
Athletes are encouraged to stand for fair play and health. It is the rules and
laws which are violated when performance enhancing drugs are used and it
becomes clear that doping is cheating and cheating is against the rules of all
The responsibility rests on the shoulders of the athletes to make the ethical
choices and compete responsively while becoming role models for drug-free
sports and lifestyles.
Doping is defined as the use of a drug or blood product to
artificially enhance physical performance.
Human Growth Hormone
Athletes should be made aware of the consequences that result from participation in
the doping practices found in the sports industry.
Minor joint pain
Cerebral or pulmonary embolism
Loss of sponsorship
Loss of income
Permanently damaged reputations, credibility and careers
When performance-enhancing drugs have the power to affect the physical wellbeing of the athletes, and defy the law of natural talent, it is then that doping
poses the greatest threat to the athlete and to the moral integrity of the true
spirit of the sport.
The problem is that
even though most
young athletes will
admit that doping
y and risky, would
they sacrifice it all
for the “thrill of
victory” and use
to improve their
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Focus of this study:
To survey middle school, high school and
college athletes to determine the attitude of
each group from the responses that would
indicate the age group’s willingness to use
banned substances to improve their
Does doping compromise the sense of fair play and good sportsmanship?
At what cost to future young athletes or the spirit of the sport are these young athletes willing to
sacrifice for the “thrill of victory”?
Have the sports industry’s and media’s fixation on winning at all costs driven many athletes to
search out what will give them the winning edge and unfortunately create a market for all types
of performance-enhancing substances?
What are performance enhancing drugs?
Do attitudes differ about the use of performance enhancing drugs among different age groups?
It was hypothesized that the middle school and high
school students would respond differently than the
college aged athlete.
The independent variable is the three different age groups of athletes:
The dependent variable is the scores on the Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale.
The population of the study is middle school, high school, and college athletes in
Richmond, KY and Fresno, CA.
In the research, background knowledge of the content being studied is assumed. A strong
foundation of knowledge is required to build on variables that affect the outcomes of
data being collected.
Limitations of the study would
include the sample of male
athletes at three separate levels
and facilities representing
secondary education ranging
from middle school athletes to
Another limitation would
include the number of
participants that drop out due to
the intrusiveness of the
The third limitation would be
those that do participate, but do
not answer the survey questions
honestly, is based on the
sensitivity of the questions.
Only male athletes 11 to 24 years
old participated in the study.
The participants were male
athletes participating in the
various sports at the middle
school level, high school level
and college level.
Results can be generalized for
the regions in which the
Data collection was completed
between September and October
DESCRIPTION OF PARTICIPANTS
The instrument for this research study was given to a total population of 180
participants made up of middle school, high school, and college aged male student
Group A or the experimental group for the pilot study
90 male student participants
Group B or the control group for the actual study
90 male student participants
The population in each group will consist of:
90 male student athletes made up of three specific aged groups of athletes
1. 30 middle school male student athletes ranging from
ages 11 years 3 months to 13 years 9 months
2. 30 high school male student athletes ranging from
ages 14 years 3 months to 17 years 11 months
3. 30 college aged male student athletes ranging from
ages 18 years 0 months to 22 years 11 months
DESCRIPTION OF PARTICIPANTS
The control group was made up of 90 male student athletes from Richmond, KY.
The participants included 30 middle school and 30 high school student athletes from
Madison County Schools and 30 college age student athletes from Eastern Kentucky
The experimental group who participated in the pilot study was made of 90 male
student athletes from the Clovis Diving Club (60 participants), Clovis, CA, and
Fresno State University student athletes (30 participants) from Fresno, CA.
Permission for the athletes under the age of eighteen years was secured through a
letter of explanation to the parents giving them the opportunity to sign a refusal to
participate form if the parents should choose not to let their child participate in the
study. Copies of this letter were sent to the parents of all participants under the age
of eighteen in both the experimental and control groups. Risk factors
(none), benefits, the aim of the study, survey conditions, and the promise of
confidentiality were some of the areas explained to the parents in the letter.
DESCRIPTION OF PARTICIPANTS
The same version of the letter was given to parents with optional wording such
as school/club or teacher/coach from which to choose.
An informed consent form was given to all participants so as to understand
their involvement, the purpose of the study, their anonymity, and recourse if
concerns arise following the completion of the study or during that would
negate their participation at the time of the administration of the instrument.
All participants were informed of the purpose of the study and that
participation was not only voluntary, but anonymous.
No elite athletes were chosen for the purpose of this particular study.
The instrument selected to be used to survey the participants in this study
is the Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale (PEAS). Petroczi and
Aidman (2009) developed a seventeen item Performance Enhancement
Attitude Scale (PEAS) to understand participants’ attitudes and
perceptions toward doping/performance enhancing drugs (PED). The
survey was scored using a Likert scale with 6 responses ranging from 1
(strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree).
When analyzing the reliability of the scale, Cronbach’s alpha values
ranged from .71 to .91, which indicated that the instrument is reliable.
These findings suggest the PEAS is a valid and reliable scale for
determining athletes’ attitudes toward doping (Petroczi & Aidman 2009).
Hard copies of the survey in format were given to each group by a research assistant
for the distribution, completion and collection of the individual’s surveys.
Approval to administer the survey was obtained from the Athletic Director at each
school or a senior representative from the Clovis Diving Club.
All participants were instructed to complete the survey individually in a closed
setting which was returned at the end of 30 minutes to an envelope provided by the
research assistant who was monitoring the administration of the instrument.
A pilot study of the survey was given to three groups of participants in Clovis, CA
and at Fresno State in CA to mimic the control group that was surveyed in
Richmond, KY and at Eastern Kentucky University. The results of the pilot study
were used to indicate if there were any questions that needed to be eliminated or that
were too invasive to evoke truthful responses from the participants in the control
group. Some questions were omitted or reworded after examination of the results of
the pilot study to ensure all questions would be answered within the control group.
The data collection took place between September and October of 2013.
It was hypothesized that the middle school and high school students
would respond differently than the college aged athlete.
The results from the pilot study indicated that the majority of all the
participants (88.6%) strongly agreed they would “never” engage in the
use of PEDs and the remaining participants (11.4%) strongly agreed
they would “sometimes or always” engage in the use of PEDs. Even
though the main independent variable was the use of 3 different age
groups, there seemed to be no significant difference in their responses.
Similar results were obtained from the control group as well.
Therefore, the hypothesis was not proven as there seemed to be no
significant differences in the responses from the 3 different age groups.