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Study Reports Team Athletes Are Less Likely to Dope

Update Date: Oct 10, 2013 02:53 PM EDT

Athletes are amazing examples of what the human body can achieve if people put effort and time into it. Athletic competitions are the best places to celebrate the human body. These competitions, whether they are small or huge, measure and compare athletes based purely on strength and technique. Even though these competitions are supposed to be fair, the chance of illegal doping could affect results. The subject of using performance-enhancing drugs has continued to plague the sport's world. In a new study, researchers looked into the frequency of doping. They reported that athletes who were a part of a team were less likely to dope as opposed to athletes who compete alone.

For this study, the research team from the University of Stirling headed by sport doping researcher, Dr. Paul Dimeo looked into the risk of doping. The study, which was commissioned by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA), analyzed the answers of 200 Scottish athletes. The athletes were from three different kinds of sports environment, which were team, individual and hybrid sports.

"It emerged that the team environment and the sense of belonging to a 'team' of some description protects athletes as they fear both the shame of being caught and banned as well as the likely social marginalization that would follow," Dimeo said according to Medical Xpress. "We also found that there was a perceived distinction between individual and team sports with regard to the pressures influencing athletes to dope, particularly in terms of the influence or otherwise of a coach."

The researchers concluded that athletes who were a part of team had more reasons not to risk doping. Furthermore, the tactics that the coaches who are head of a team use differ greatly from coaches who must focus on the outcomes of one athlete. Individual athletes might feel more pressure to succeed. Aside from these pressures, the researchers also found that a lot of athletes were unaware of the current legislation surrounding doping.

"If team sport athletes are aware of the potential consequences then they might promote anti-doping within their own team," Dimeo said. "We have noted a lack of awareness of this legislation and discrepancies in its implementation, but the fear of being caught and the shame it brings remain the strongest factors preventing team athletes from considering using banned substances."

The study was provided by the University and can be accessed here.

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