Attitudes, beliefs and knowledge related to doping in different categories of football players

  • Author Footnotes
    1 Contributed equally to this manuscript.
    Jaime Morente-Sánchez
    1 Contributed equally to this manuscript.
    Faculty of Sport Science, Department of Physical and Sports Education, University of Granada, Spain
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  • Author Footnotes
    1 Contributed equally to this manuscript.
    Thomas Zandonai
    Corresponding authors.
    1 Contributed equally to this manuscript.
    Mind, Brain and Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Experimental Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Granada, Spain

    Sport Research Centre, Department of Sport Sciences, Miguel Hernández University, Spain
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  • Mikel Zabala Díaz
    Corresponding authors.
    Faculty of Sport Science, Department of Physical and Sports Education, University of Granada, Spain
    Search for articles by this author
  • Author Footnotes
    1 Contributed equally to this manuscript.



      The aim of this study was to study and compare attitudes, beliefs and knowledge about doping of footballers, from elite to under-18 categories.


      The descriptive exploratory design used an instrument combining a validated questionnaire (Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale: PEAS) with qualitative open-ended questions.


      A total of 1324 Spanish football players (average age 22.56 ± 5.62 years) from 88 football teams that ranged from elite to under-18 categories: Elite (ELI, n = 304), non-elite Professional (PRO, n = 308), top Amateur (AMA, n = 330), elite Under-18 (U18, n = 334) and elite Female (FEM, n = 48) composed the sample.


      PEAS overall scores (range 17–102, with higher scores representing more permissive attitudes) was 34.02 ± 11.08. The overall scores for all groups analysed were: FEM: 33.75 ± 14.73; ELI: 30.61 ± 9.91; PRO: 34.23 ± 11.13; AMA: 35.05 ± 10.35; and U18: 35.93 ± 11.50. Significant differences were observed between ELI and PRO (p < 0.001), ELI and AMA (p < 0.001), and ELI and U18 (p < 0.001). 95% of participants did not know the meaning of WADA; 97.4% did not know the Prohibited List; 5% admitted having used banned substances and 23.7% knew dopers.


      This study showed different an important lack of knowledge about doping and an high levels of supplement use in this sample of footballers assessed. It which clearly reinforces the idea of implementing a wide educational doping prevention programme in football environment.


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