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Open AccessArticle

Toward Prevention of Doping in Youth Sport: Cross-Sectional Analysis of Correlates of Doping Tendency in Swimming

Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
PhD Program in Health Promotion and Cognitive Sciences, Sport and Exercise Research Unit, Department of Psychological, Pedagogical and Education Sciences, University of Palermo, 90144 Palermo, Italy
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Split, 21000 Split, Croatia
University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4851;
Received: 6 November 2019 / Revised: 28 November 2019 / Accepted: 29 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effect of Sport Activity on Health Promotion 2019)
Doping is recognized as one of the most important problems in sports, but a limited number of studies have investigated doping problems in youth athletes. This study aimed to evaluate doping tendency (potential doping behavior (PDB)) and correlates of PDB in youth age swimmers. The participants were 241 competitive swimmers (131 females; 15.3 ± 1.1 years of age, all under 18 years old). Variables included predictors and PDB (criterion). Predictors consisted of sociodemographic factors (gender and age), sport-related variables (i.e., experience in swimming and sport achievement), variables explaining coaching strategy and training methodology, consumption of dietary supplements (DS), knowledge about doping, and knowledge about sports nutrition and DS (KSN). In addition to the descriptive statistics and differences between genders, a multinomial regression using PDB as the criterion (negative-, neutral-, or positive-PDB, with a negative-PDB as the reference value) was calculated to define associations between predictors and criterion. With only 71% of swimmers who declared negative-PDB results indicated an alarming figure. Boys with better KSN were more negatively oriented toward positive-PDB (OR: 0.77, 95%CI: 0.60–0.95). In girls, lower competitive achievement was evidenced as a risk factor for neutral-PDB (OR: 0.39, 95%CI: 0.24–0.63). Also, higher neutral-PDB (OR: 0.88, 95%CI: 0.81–0.96) and positive-PDB (OR: 0.90, 95%CI: 0.83–0.99) were identified in girls who began with intensive training in younger age. Because of the alarming figures of PDB, there is an evident need for the development of systematic antidoping educational programs in youth swimming. In doing so, focus should be placed on girls who began intensive training at an earlier age and those who did not achieve high competitive results. View Full-Text
Keywords: performance enhancement; puberty; achievement; knowledge performance enhancement; puberty; achievement; knowledge
MDPI and ACS Style

Sajber, D.; Maric, D.; Rodek, J.; Sekulic, D.; Liposek, S. Toward Prevention of Doping in Youth Sport: Cross-Sectional Analysis of Correlates of Doping Tendency in Swimming. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4851.

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