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Anti-doping intervention targets coaches

News story

In a world first, preventing doping in adolescent sport by targeting coaches is the focus of an international research project led by Curtin, and funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Swimming competitor

The project, CoachMADE, will be supported by research teams from Leeds Beckett University and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and will focus on the role of coaches and how they can positively influence their athletes’ values and behaviour.

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.

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.”

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.