Perceived incidence of drug use in Australian sport: A survey of athletes and coaches

Stephen MOSTON, Terry Engelberg, James Skinner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Doping control statistics suggest that only 1–2% of athletes are doping. However, studies of the perceived incidence of doping suggest that athletes believe that doping may be far more prevalent. Perceptions may potentially be of greater significance than actual incidence: athletes who believe that other athletes are doping may be more likely to engage in such practices, potentially creating a damaging self-fulfilling prophecy. This study investigated the perceptions of 609 Australian elite athletes and coaches about the extent of doping in sport. Data were collected via a self-completed survey. Results showed that the perceived incidence of performance-enhancing drug use was approximately 19% (30% for perceived incidence of recreational drug use). Findings are discussed in relation to how perceptions might influence athletes through the creation of damaging self-fulfilling prophecies, and how sporting associations have attempted to control testing procedures to influence perceptions of drug use in sport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-105
Number of pages15
JournalSport in Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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