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Curtin develops anti-doping intervention education for coaches

Media release

Curtin University is leading an international research project funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to develop an intervention to prevent current and future willingness to dope in adolescent sport.

The study aims to support the principles and aims of the Olympic Charter by developing and testing a preventative motivation theory-informed and evidence-based intervention.

The project, titled CoachMADE, will be supported by research teams from Leeds Beckett University and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with internationally acknowledged expertise on doping and motivation research. These teams will run the same intervention in the UK and Greece.

Project lead, Professor Nikos Ntoumanis from Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, said the effects of such motivational interventions in terms of athlete doping-related attitudes and decisions have not been tested by any research team to date.

“We know coach-created motivational environments can influence athletes’ intention to dope and many coaches have shown willingness to address the issue, but were unable to articulate the specific means by which they can facilitate the fight against doping,” Professor Ntoumanis said.

“The project will help coaches to share existing anti-doping resources and communicate about doping with their athletes in ways that support athletes’ psychological needs. We will then compare the developed intervention against ‘usual anti-doping practice’.

“This will be the first published coach-centered intervention that will promote an anti-doping environment by focusing on how coaches communicate with their athletes in general, and about doping in particular.”

The project will have three phases which will include a) customising training material to generate anti-doping specific content; b) a cluster randomised control trial involving some 600 athletes across Australia, Great Britain and Greece; and finally c) analysing the data and disseminating the results of the intervention via coach information sessions, printed material, policy briefings, media interviews, and social media engagement.

Researchers believe the intervention has significant practical use as it identifies specific means by which coaches can create an adaptive motivational climate within which they can deliver anti-doping education.

Aligned with the IOC’s funding call, the findings from this project will have a direct impact on the daily life of the clean athlete, and inform the development of more efficient and evidence-based educational programs and campaigns to prevent doping in sport.

The researchers are keen to recruit coaches to be part of the study now. Results for the Australian part of the trial are expected by December 2017.

Coaches interested in participating in the program should contact Amy Dyer, Project Manager, Curtin’s School of Psychology and Speech Pathology, via

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