Coach perceptions of performance enhancement in adolescence: The sport drug control model for adolescent athletes

Adam R. Nicholls*, John L. Perry, Andrew R. Levy, Rudi Meir, Leigh Jones, Timothy Baghurst, Colin Sanctuary, Mark A. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: We qualitatively explored the Sport Drug Control Model (SDCM; Donovan, Eggar, Kapernick, & Mendoza, 2002), in order to examine coaches' perceptions of adolescent athletes' attitudes and susceptibility towards doping. Methods: Eleven coaches (M= 10) from four countries, who worked in seven different sports (athletics, basketball, kayaking, racquetball, rowing, rugby league, and rugby union) were recruited to take part in semi-structured interviews. Transcribed interviews were analysed via a three-stage inductive and deductive coding process, which allowed us to identify common themes among the participants. Results: The coaches believed that adolescents' attitudes towards doping were influenced by perceptions of threat and benefit appraisals, morality, self-esteem, legitimacy, and reference group opinion. We also identified additional factors, which included age/maturation, sport level, pressure, country of residence, and ethnicity. Conclusions: Our findings provide qualitative support for the SDCM, but also offer fresh insight into some of the nuances specific to adolescent athletes from different countries and cultures. Further research is required to test our proposed model with larger samples of adolescent athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-101
Number of pages9
JournalPerformance Enhancement and Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2014


  • Attitudes
  • Coaches
  • Doping
  • Performance enhancing drugs
  • Youth


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