Portraits of adolescent athletes facing personal and situational risk factors for doping initiation

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Abstract

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the personal and situational factors that contribute to the initiation of doping among adolescent athletes.

Design:

This research was guided by a social constructionist epistemology and a relativist ontology.

Method:

Data were collected using face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with 21 young adults who reflected on their experiences related to doping as adolescent athletes in a variety of competitive sports. The data analysis consisted of the development of creative non-fiction portraits (drawing upon the traditions of creative non-fiction storytelling and portraiture). This approach involves the creation of a story that is not a direct account of a participant's experience but a representation of events and experiences, grounded in research data.

Results:

Four portraits were created depicting four separate characters with a unique set of beliefs, perceptions, motives, and circumstances that lead them to consider initiating doping. The portraits take the form of an inner monologue of the characters and depict a complex set of personal and situational factors that contribute to doping behavior.

Conclusions:

Presenting the findings as portraits provides an accessible form of data presentation that readers can relate to and draw personally-relevant conclusions from.

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