The Effect of an Ethical Decision-Making Training on Young Athletes’ Attitudes Toward Doping

Ethics and Behavior 26 (1):32-44 (2016)
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Abstract

This article examines whether a training program in ethical decision making can change young athletes’ doping attitudes. Fifty-two young elite athletes were randomly assigned to either an ethical decision-making training group or a standard-knowledge-based educational program group. Another 17 young elite athletes were recruited for no-treatment control purposes. The ethical decision-making training comprised six 30-min online sessions in which the participants had to work through 18 ethical dilemmas related to doping. The standard-knowledge-based educational program was also conducted in six online sessions of comparable length to that of the ethical training. A short version of the Performance Enhancement Attitude Scale was administered to measure the effects of the trainings on doping attitude. Prior to as well as after the intervention, the mean doping attitude scores of the young athletes were low to very low, indicating vehement rejections of doping. The results of our experiment showed that the ethical training led to an attenuation of these rejections. No intervention effect was found in the standard education group. The observed slight increase in the doping attitude score could be an indication that the ethical decision-making training was successful in breaking up the athletes’ stereotypical style of reasoning about doping.

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