Attentional bias for doping words and its relation with physical self-esteem in young adolescents

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Objectives:Previous studies revealed that adolescence is a period of risk for doping and drug addiction and that young athletes who used doping agents reported low self-esteem. We conducted a preventive study with the aims to investigate whether young adolescents displayed an attentional bias to doping-related words and whether this attentional bias was related to physical self-esteem.Method:Ninety seven adolescents (44 girls and 53 boys) from 11 to 15 years-old participated to a study designed to measure reaction times (RT) in a Stroop emotional task related to doping, cheating and control words. They also completed the Physical Self-Perception Profile subscales assessing perceived general self-esteem, physical self-worth, physical condition, sport competence, body attractiveness, and physical strength.Results:Participants exhibited longer RT after doping words than after control words. RT was also longer after doping than after cheating words. Participants belonging to the low physical self-esteem group exhibited larger carry-over effects than those who were in the high physical self-esteem group.Conclusions:These findings suggest that attentional resources allocated to doping words are already present at the onset of adolescence, and that they may be linked to a psychological feature (physical self-esteem) considered as a risk factor of substance abuse in young adults involved in competitive sports.

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