Nathanael Adu, Emmanuel Aboagye, Stephen Kyenkyehene Addae


Despite the use of drugs among amateur athletes linked to inadvertent doping, there is a gap in the literature about other factors that prompted doping behaviour. The present study examined if eligibility to participate in sports competitions is the main cause of doping among young athletes in Ghana. To achieve this, an interpretative qualitative research design approach was adopted. Purposive and snowballing sampling techniques were employed to recruit 10 former basic school student-athletes who admitted to using drugs to participate in school competitions. Semi-structured interviews were the instruments used to collect the data to answer the research questions. Thematic analysis was employed after the data have been transcribed verbatim. The findings of the study revealed that students take performance-enhancing drugs to “become eligible to participate in the competitions”, “to improve stamina”, and “gives them extra energy to perform without getting tired”. Again, it was found that the former student-athletes were unaware of the effects of taking the drugs. The study further exposed some effects of performance-enhancing drugs which included addictiveness and physiological health challenges on the individual. The study recommends that stakeholders should educate minnows on the adverse effects of taking drugs without a doctor’s prescription. Again, age should be used when organising competitions for student-athletes at the basic school level rather than weight, height and facial description.


Article visualizations:

Hit counter


inadvertent doping, minnows, performance-enhancing, former athletes

Full Text:



Backhouse, SH and Whitaker, L and Patterson, L and Erickson, K and McKenna, J (2016). Social Psychology of Doping in Sport: A Mixed Studies Narrative Synthesis. Project Report. World Anti-Doping Agency, Montreal Canada.

Ntoumanis, N., Ng, J. Y., Barkoukis, V., & Backhouse, S. (2014). Personal and psychosocial predictors of doping use in physical activity settings: a meta-analysis. Sports medicine, 44(11), 1603-1624.

Chan, D. K. C., Ntoumanis, N., Gucciardi, D. F., Donovan, R. J., Dimmock, J. A., Hardcastle, S. J., & Hagger, M. S. (2016). What if it rea an accident? The psychology of unintentional doping. British journal of sports medicine, 50(15), 898-899.

Chan, D. K., Lee, A. S., Tang, T. C., Gucciardi, D. F., Yung, P. S., & Hagger, M. S. (2017). Paper vs. Pixel: Can We Use a Pen-and-Paper Method to Measure Athletes' Implicit Doping Attitude? Frontiers in Psychology, 8.

Hurst P, Kavussanu M, Boardley I, Ring C. Sport supplement use predicts doping attitudes and likelihood via sport supplement beliefs. J Sports Sci. 2019 Aug;37(15):1734-1740. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2019.1589920. Epub 2019 Mar 12. PMID: 30860956.

WADA, 2016. 2015 anti-doping testing figures report. Montreal: WADA.

Nicholls, A. R., Madigan, D. J., Backhouse, S. H., & Levy, A. R. (2017). Personality traits and performance enhancing drugs: The Dark Triad and doping attitudes among competitive athletes. Personality and Individual Differences, 112, 113-116.

Chan, D. K. C., Tang, T. C. W., Yung, P. S.-H., Gucciardi, D. F., & Hagger, M. (2019). Is unintentional doping real, or just an excuse?. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 53(15), 978-979.

Kirby, K., Moran, A., & Guerin, S. (2011). A qualitative analysis of the experiences of elite athletes who have admitted to doping for performance enhancement. International journal of sport policy and politics, 3(2), 205-224.

Bermon, S., Vilain, E., Fénichel, P., & Ritzén, M. (2015). Women with hyperandrogenism in elite sports: scientific and ethical rationales for regulating. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 100(3), 828-830.

Overbye, M., & Wagner, U. (2013). Between medical treatment and performance enhancement: An investigation of how elite athletes experience Therapeutic Use Exemptions. International journal of drug policy, 24(6), 579-588.

Woolway, T., Lazuras, L., Barkoukis, V., & Petróczi, A. (2020). “Doing what is right and doing it right”: a mapping review of athletes' perception of anti-doping legitimacy. International Journal of Drug Policy, 84, 102865.

Sipavičiūtė, B., Šukys, S., & Dumčienė, A. (2020). Doping prevention in sport: Overview of anti-doping education programmes. Baltic Journal of Sport and Health Sciences, 2(117).

Aboagye, E., Yawson, J. A., & Appiah, K. N. (2020). Doping Practices, Knowledge of Anti-Doping Control and Roles of Physical Education Teachers in Anti-Doping Education. Social Education Research, 173-186.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2012). Research Methods for Business Students. 6th edition, Pearson Education Limited.

Alharahsheh, H. H., & Pius, A. (2020). A review of key paradigms: Positivism VS interpretivism. Global Academic Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 2(3), 39-43.

Clarke, V., Braun, V., & Hayfield, N. (2015). Thematic analysis. Qualitative psychology: A practical guide to research methods, 222(2015), 248.

Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Sage.

Hallward, L., & Duncan, L. R. (2019). A qualitative exploration of athletes' past experiences with doping prevention education. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 31(2), 187-202.

Lakasing, E., & Mirza, Z. A. (2009). Football and alcohol: a short diary of a long and complex relationship. London journal of primary care, 2(1), 78-80.

Morse E. D. (2013). Substance use in athletes. In: Baron DA, Reardon CL, Baron SH (eds) Clinical Sports Psychiatry: An International Perspective. Oxford: Wiley, pp.3–12.

Sansone, A., Sansone, M., Vaamonde, D., Sgrò, P., Salzano, C., Romanelli, F., ... & Di Luigi, L. (2018). Sport, doping and male fertility. Reproductive biology and endocrinology, 16(1), 1-12.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2023 Nathanael Adu, Emmanuel Aboagye, Stephen Kyenkyehene Addae

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright © 2015 - 2023. European Journal of Physical Education and Sport Science (ISSN 2501 - 1235) is a registered trademark of Open Access Publishing Group. All rights reserved.

This journal is a serial publication uniquely identified by an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) serial number certificate issued by Romanian National Library (Biblioteca Nationala a Romaniei). All the research works are uniquely identified by a CrossRef DOI digital object identifier supplied by indexing and repository platforms. All authors who send their manuscripts to this journal and whose articles are published on this journal retain full copyright of their articles. All the research works published on this journal are meeting the Open Access Publishing requirements and can be freely accessed, shared, modified, distributed and used in educational, commercial and non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).