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Urine doping controls have become a regular part of athletes’ lives, and approximately one half of all athletes suffer at least once from urination difficulties during these tests. Previous studies could not satisfactorily explain why athletes are affected. This paper examines the relation between urination difficulties during doping controls and psychological reactance. It is assumed that psychological reactance is positively correlated to urination difficulties. The results are based on a study involving 187 German-speaking athletes participating in elite sports at the national team level. In addition to demographic data and information about doping controls, the Psychogenic Urine Retention during Doping Controls Scale (PURDS) and Therapeutic Reactance Scale (TRS) were used. The results do not confirm our hypothesis and indicate that reactance correlates negatively rather than positively to urination difficulties during doping controls. The results are surprising as they suggest that athletes who show low oppositional potential toward doping rules are most strongly affected. Suggestions for interventions are given.
Anne-Marie Elbe is with the Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Ralf Brand is with the Department of Sport and Exercise Psychology, University of Potsdam, Germany.