This study examined attitudes toward doping among 458 French elite student-athletes (ESAs) ages 16–24, their correlates, and their relationship with cigarette, alcohol, and cannabis use. We found a consensus among ESAs concerning negative aspects of doping. A cluster analysis showed, however, that statements dealing with benefits of doping were endorsed by two significant minorities of respondents. These ESAs were more frequently older males with a lower parental academic achievement and no sporting history in their family. Recreational drug use depended on whether or not ESAs endorsed statements related to nonsporting benefits of doping. Using an analytical framework from the sociology of deviance, our findings suggest that athletes who dope themselves pursue legitimate goals with illegitimate means but justify their behavior with a legitimate rationale. Further research is needed on the nonrecreational use of recreational drugs.
Peretti-Wartel, Guagliardo, Verger, and Obadia are with Regional Center for Disease Control of South-Eastern France (ORS PACA), 23 rue Stanislas Torrents, 13006 Marseille, FR. Mignon is with Laboratory of Sociology of Sport, National Institute for Sport and Physical Education (INSEP), 11 Avenue Tremblay, 75012 Paris, FR. Pruvost is with Regional and Departmental Authority on Youth and Sports of South-Eastern France (DRDJS PACA), 20 avenue de Corinthe, 13006 Marseille, FR.