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ORIGINAL ARTICLE  EPIDEMIOLOGY AND CLINICAL MEDICINE 

The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2017 May;57(5):610-23

DOI: 10.23736/S0022-4707.16.06259-9

Copyright © 2016 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Antidoping attitudes among elite athletes: a cross sectional study in biathlon using a suitably developed questionnaire

Nicola LAMBERTI 1, Anna M., MALAGONI 2, 3, Michele FELISATTI 4, Stefano CARACCIOLO 5, Nicole RESCH 3, Hannu LITMANEN 3, Donatella DALFOLLO 3, Pierre JEANNIER 3, Larisa ZHUKOVSKAJA 3, James E. CARRABRE 3, Fabio MANFREDINI 1, 3

1 Section of Sport Sciences, Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; 2 Unit of Translational Surgery, University Hospital of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy; 3 International Biathlon Union, Salzburg, Austria; 4 Esercizio Vita ONLUS, Ferrara, Italy; 5 Section of Neurological, Psychiatric and Psychological Sciences, Department of Biomedical and Specialty Surgical Sciences, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy


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BACKGROUND: The attitude of athletes towards antidoping interventions was surveyed among biathletes by a properly developed questionnaire.
METHODS: Topics and items were identified by a multidisciplinary team. A demographics and an awareness sections exploring respondents’ characteristics and knowledge of the antidoping rules were added. The anonymous, self-administered tool was distributed to athletes during two international events. Two hundred forty-four biathletes participated in the survey. The structure of the questionnaire, determined by factor analysis, included three domains: safety (items N.=12) acceptance (N.=11), and satisfaction (N.=13) exploring respectively the perceived protection from cheating, the acceptance of the limitations on daily activities imposed by the antidoping interventions and the satisfaction with antidoping rules and actions. The domain scores and a general antidoping attitude score were calculated.
RESULTS: The questionnaire, which displayed construct validity (r=0.500, P<0.001), good internal consistency (α=0.82) and significant acceptable test-retest reliability (k=0.59), revealed a good antidoping attitude (general score: 64.9/100±8.8) and in relation to each domain a satisfaction of athletes with antidoping interventions (65.3±13.6), good acceptance of the related restrictions (70.1±10.9), and concerns about safety (59.5±11.9), which was the lowest scoring domain (P<0.001). The degree of awareness, differently from age and gender, influenced the antidoping attitude score.
CONCLUSIONS: The new questionnaire revealed a positive mood of biathletes towards antidoping interventions, pointed out their necessity of protection from cheating and highlighted the positive influence of awareness of the rules on antidoping attitude. The questionnaire is not sport-specific, which allows any international federation to evaluate the impact of antidoping strategies on athletes.


KEY WORDS: Doping in sports - Ethics - Personal satisfaction - Survey and questionnaires

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