Self-Control Self-Regulation, and Doping in Sport: A Test of the Strength-Energy Model

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Curtin University
  • | 2 University of Teacher Education
  • | 3 University of Western Australia
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We applied the strength-energy model of self-control to understand the relationship between self-control and young athletes’ behavioral responses to taking illegal performance-enhancing substances, or “doping.” Measures of trait self-control, attitude and intention toward doping, intention toward, and adherence to, doping-avoidant behaviors, and the prevention of unintended doping behaviors were administered to 410 young Australian athletes. Participants also completed a “lollipop” decision-making protocol that simulated avoidance of unintended doping. Hierarchical linear multiple regression analyses revealed that self-control was negatively associated with doping attitude and intention, and positively associated with the intention and adherence to doping-avoidant behaviors, and refusal to take or eat the unfamiliar candy offered in the “lollipop” protocol. Consistent with the strength-energy model, athletes with low self-control were more likely to have heightened attitude and intention toward doping, and reduced intention, behavioral adherence, and awareness of doping avoidance.

Derwin K. C. Chan, Robert J. Donovan, David A. Keatley, Sarah J. Hardcastle, and Martin S. Hagger are with Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia. Vanessa Lentillon-Kaestner is with the Lausanne University of Teacher Education, Switzerland. James A. Dimmock is with the University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Derwin K. C. Chan at