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Pragmatic, positive and innovative approaches to tackle doping in amateur-, fitness- and sport to elite competitive sport

Faculty of Science, Engineering and Computing

About the Project

The recent scandals in sport (e.g., the Lance Armstrong case, systematic doping in Russia, cover ups in IAAF) have questioned the legitimacy of the current anti-doping approach - and drawn attention to the multiple issues that warrant attention. These include questions such as how widespread doping is at different levels of sport involvement; how values-based anti-doping education can be effective; how to integrate anti-doping in today’s society in the era of human enhancement; what clean sport means to athletes and how to bridge the artificial gap between amateur sports, fitness and elite sport when it comes to doping; the role of the clean athletes and whistleblowers in keeping sport clean; and the importance of perceived legitimacy and trust in anti-doping.

Ongoing specific research programmes are clustered around the following topics:
• Boundaries of ‘human enhancement’ and the hypermodern body in sport and exercise
• Doping prevention and harm reduction in fitness and amateur sports;
• Problem based learning for anti-doping (both in amateur and elite competitive sports) and values-based anti-doping education;
• Methods for establishing and monitoring doping prevalence;
• Perceptions of anti-doping legitimacy;
• The role of implicit social cognition in doping (i.e., what do the response time based tests such as the implicit association tests tell us?);
• The role of whistleblowing in doping control in elite sports;
• Alternative approaches to doping control in elite sports;
• Development of the performance mindset and its impact on performance enhancement.

Applications relating to any of these topics are welcome, particularly from applicants with diverse academic background and multidisciplinary skills. Candidates trained in quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies are equally encouraged to apply.

Successful PhD candidate(s) will join a vibrant multidisciplinary team and benefit from the group’s extensive international collaboration network. Depending on the topic, financial support via paid research assistantship(s) may be available.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: applications can only be accepted from self-funded candidates


Petróczi, A., Norman, P., & Brueckner, S. (2017). Can we better integrate the role of anti-doping in sports and society? A psychological approach to contemporary value-based prevention. In Acute Topics in Anti-Doping (Vol. 62, pp. 160-176). Karger Publishers.

The Safe You Project:

Lazuras, L., Barkoukis, V., Loukovitis, A., Brand, R., Hudson, A., Mallia, L., ... & Zelli, A. (2017). “I Want It All, and I Want It Now”: Lifetime prevalence and reasons for using and abstaining from controlled performance and appearance enhancing substances (PAES) among young exercisers and amateur athletes in five European countries. Frontiers in Psychology, 8.

Ulrich, R., Pope, Jr, H.G., Cléret, L., Petróczi, A., Nepusz, T., Schaffer, J., Kanayama, G., Comstock, R.D., & Simon, P. Doping in elite sports assessed by randomized-response surveys. Sports Medicine (in press)

Petróczi, A. (2013). The doping mindset—Part I: Implications of the functional use theory on mental representations of doping. Performance Enhancement & Health, 2(4), 153-163.

Petróczi, A. (2013). The doping mindset–Part II: Potentials and pitfalls in capturing athletes’ doping attitudes with response-time methodology. Performance Enhancement & Health, 2(4), 164-181.

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