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Nicholas Stanger and Susan H. Backhouse

Moral identity and moral disengagement have been linked with doping likelihood. However, experiments testing the temporal direction of these relationships are absent. The authors conducted one cross-sectional and two experimental studies investigating the conjunctive effects of moral identity and moral disengagement on doping likelihood (or intention). Dispositional moral identity was inversely (marginally), and doping moral disengagement, positively, associated with doping intention (Study 1). Manipulating situations to amplify opportunities for moral disengagement increased doping likelihood via anticipated guilt (Study 2). Moreover, dispositional moral identity (Study 2) and inducing moral identity (Study 3) were linked with lower doping likelihood and attenuated the relationship between doping moral disengagement and doping likelihood. However, the suppressing effect of moral identity on doping likelihood was overridden when opportunities for moral disengagement were amplified. These findings support multifaceted antidoping efforts, which include simultaneously enhancing athlete moral identity and personal responsibility alongside reducing social opportunities for moral disengagement.

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Susan H. Backhouse, Panteleimon Ekkekakis, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Andrew Foskett, and Clyde Williams

The exercise psychology literature includes an intriguing, albeit not frequently discussed, paradox by juxtaposing two conclusions: (a) that exercise makes most people feel better and (b) that most people are physically inactive or inadequately active. In this article, we propose that this might be an artifact rather than a paradox. Specifically, we question the generality of the conclusion that exercise makes people feel better by proposing that (a) occasional findings of negative affective changes tend to be discounted, (b) potentially relevant negative affective states are not always measured, (c) examining changes from pre- to postexercise could miss negative changes during exercise, and (d) analyzing changes only at the level of group aggregates might conceal divergent patterns at the level of individuals or subgroups. Data from a study of 12 men participating in a 90-min walk–run protocol designed to simulate the demands of sports games (e.g., soccer) are used to illustrate these points.

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Adam R. Nicholls, Jim McKenna, Remco C.J. Polman, and Susan H. Backhouse

The aim of this study was to explore the perceived factors that contribute to stress and negative affective states during preseason among a sample of professional rugby union players. The participants were 12 male professional rugby union players between 18 and 21 years of age (M age = 19 years, SD = 0.85). Data were collected via semistructured interviews and analyzed using an inductive content analysis procedure. Players identified training (structure and volume), the number of matches played and the recovery period, diet, sleep, and travel as factors that they believed contributed to their experience of stress and negative affective states. The present findings suggest that players may require more time to recover between matches, alongside interventions to help players manage the symptoms of stress and negative affect during times in which players are overtraining.