Self-affirmation effects on doping related cognition among exercisers who use nutritional supplements

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Objectives:The use of nutritional supplements has been associated with stronger doping intentions and actual use of doping substances, but there is limited research about doping risk communication among nutritional supplement users. The present study examined if using a self-affirmation manipulation a) changes intentions to use doping and b) influences related social cognitions (i.e., attitudes, social and moral norms, self-efficacy and situational temptation, and anticipated regret) among exercisers who use nutritional supplements, following a brief exposure to doping-related health risk messages.Design:Between subjects experimental design.Method:Sixty exercisers were randomly assigned to self-affirmation and control groups and completed a structured and anonymous questionnaire about doping intentions and related social cognitive variables.Results:Self-affirmed participants reported higher scores in descriptive and moral norms and anticipated regret towards using doping substances, than control participants. Doping intentions were predicted by situational temptation and anticipated regret. Anticipated regret mediated the effect of the self-affirmation manipulation on doping intentions.Conclusions:In the context of doping risk communication, self-affirmation may influence the decision-making process by acting on anticipated regret. Our findings can inform risk communication campaigns targeting exercisers who use nutritional supplements.HighlightsSelf-affirmation can influence the normative beliefs of exercisers using nutritional supplements.Self-affirmation did not influence exercisers doping intentions.Situational temptation and anticipated regret are significant predictors of doping intentions in exercisers using nutritional supplements.

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