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Reflections on 'doping in sport' and 'doping in society'
University of Gävle, Faculty of Health and Occupational Studies, Department of Health and Caring Sciences, Sports science. Lund University.
2016 (English)In: Doping and Public Health / [ed] Ahmadi, N.; Ljungqvist, A.; Svedsäter, G., Routledge, 2016, 1, p. 49-63Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Doping in sport is recognized as an important problem in relation to fair play and health. Anti-doping work in sport has been going on since the beginning of the 1960s, and has been accentuated on several occasions by ‘doping scandals’. Until recently doping has been addressed solely as an internal sport issue, and not as a social problem outside sport. However, increasing evidence is showing that doping outside the elite sports context without any competitive reasons is not uncommon. Frequent use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) has been reported at gyms, among high school and college students, in criminal contexts and in relation to other types of substance abuse – where the competitive reasons for using illicit performance enhancing substances are of minor importance. Instead, the use of doping substances such as AAS is motivated by cosmetic reasons (to be more muscular, gain or loss weight), by criminal strategic reasons (to be stronger and more fearsome) and as a component in general substanceabuse behaviour. The use of ‘doping in society’ has been acknowledged in research, but still the issue is not publicly well known, and anti-doping efforts, prevention programmes and treatment strategies are underdeveloped, contrary to what is going on in relation to doping in sport. There is a need for more research on how widespread doping is outside sport, on social driving forces and motives for use of different doping preparations, and on physiological, psychological and social consequences of its use. In this article I discuss four issues in relation to the use of doping preparations – both within and outside sport (in society). In the first section – ‘Different types of doping and reasons for doping’ – I argue that ‘doping in sport’ differs from ‘doping in society’. For instance, doping in sport is something different from doping in a criminal context. But there are also common dominators between different types of doping behaviours, which will be discussed in the article. In the second section – ‘Doping use has to be understood in its own right’ – I argue that there are specific elements in the doping behaviour that differentiate use of doping preparations from substance abuse (alcohol and narcotics). In the third section – ‘Doping use is a sign of the times’ – I am arguing that the use of doping preparations should not only be analysed from an individual perspective.

Until now, many studies have analysed doping as an individual problem (e.g. individual morals, a pessimistic personality, a risk-taking personality). I argue we have to consider the significance of current social processes and ideals in society to fully understand the interest in doping, not least concerning doping outside the competitive sports context. In the article I discuss some important social processes in relation to doping. In the fourth and last discussion I focus on today’s strong health ideals in society, in the section ‘The pursuit of good health could become unhealthy’. I argue that this is a double-edged development in relation to doping. To strive for better health through physical activities and a more healthy diet is of course a good thing, but when training and dieting become an obsession this can lead to eating disorders as well as use of doping substances.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2016, 1. p. 49-63
National Category
Sport and Fitness Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-27407ISI: 000386891400005ISBN: 978-1-315-68842-8 (electronic)ISBN: 978-1-138-91855-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hig-27407DiVA, id: diva2:1224975
Available from: 2018-06-26 Created: 2018-06-26 Last updated: 2018-06-26Bibliographically approved

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