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What if it really was an accident? The psychology of unintentional doping
  1. Derwin King Chung Chan1,2,
  2. Nikos Ntoumanis2,
  3. Daniel F Gucciardi2,
  4. Robert J Donovan2,
  5. James A Dimmock3,
  6. Sarah J Hardcastle2,
  7. Martin S Hagger2
  1. 1Institute of Human Performance, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  2. 2Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  3. 3The University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Professor Derwin King Chung Chan Institute of Human Performance, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; derwin.chan{at}

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Doping refers to the use of prohibited performance-enhancing substances or methods in sport. It is considered a serious offence in sport that has many negative consequences, including titles being stripped, bans from participating, damage to reputation and ill health. As doping is assumed to be a pre-meditated action, engaging in this behaviour has been predominantly attributed to athletes’ decision-making processes and moral values or obligations.1 An increasing volume of literature has focused on the psychological factors associated with doping or doping intention, such as motivation, sportsmanship, moral disengagement and social-cognitive factors.1

These studies make a central assumption that doping is a consciously controlled and goal-directed behaviour. However athletes may dope unintentionally because they are not aware that food, drinks, supplements, or medications may contain doping substances.2 ,3 Therefore, one of the key antidoping strategies of WADA, apart from doping control, is to enhance athletes’ antidoping awareness and their capacity to avoid unintentional doping.

Why preventing unintentional doping is important?

Unintentional doping could lead to adverse analytical findings (AAFs) in doping controls (eg, …

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