To examine the effectiveness of an evidence-based moral intervention compared to a standard educational (knowledge-based) intervention in reducing doping intentions in young athletes.
2 Group (Moral, Educational) x 2 Time (Pre, Post) Experimental design, with a three-month follow up.
Male and female athletes (N= 159), aged 16-22 years old, taking part in individual and team sports, were recruited from sports colleges and clubs, in Greece and UK. They were assigned to either the moral or the educational intervention and participated in six one-hour sessions delivered by a facilitator, at their sports college or club. The sessions were delivered in groups of 4-14 athletes, once a week, over a period of six weeks. Measures of doping intentions, moral identity, moral disengagement and moral atmosphere were taken before and after the interventions, as well as three months after the interventions have ended.
A 2 Intervention Group (Moral, Educational) × 2 Time (pre, post) × 2 Country (UK, Greece) Repeated Measures MANOVA on doping intentions, moral identity, moral disengagement, and moral atmosphere was conducted. The results show that both interventions were similarly effective in decreasing doping intention and moral disengagement (from pre to post-test) in both Greece and UK.
The findings suggest that doping intentions in young athletes can be reduced. They have significant implications for doping prevention and suggest that there is value in delivering both moral and educational interventions. Our findings could inform anti-doping policy and practice of national anti-doping organisations.