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Can we measure accurately the prevalence of doping?
Scandinavian Journal of Medecine & Science in Sports
Questionnaires are used in the majority of the studies ondoping prevalence in sport. Nevertheless, prevalence is noteasy to evaluate and previous epidemiologic studies demonstrateda wide variance. This variance has mostly beenexplained by sample differences. The way to evaluate dopingprevalence in the survey is questioned in this paper. Aquestionnaire was administered to 1810 amateur athletes(993 males, 817 females). Doping use was ascertained invarious ways, using different definitions of doping and typesof question in the survey. Depending on the definition ofdoping and the type of question used, the prevalence ofdoping obtained can differ enormously, between 1.3 and39.2% of athletes. Marijuana and drugs for asthma were thetwo banned substances most used. The majority of athletesoften ignored the banned list and did not use prohibitedsubstances to dope. Using various ways to question athletes,observing the usage of substances, cross checking the data,taking into account the aim of substances uses and thevarious definitions of doping are necessary to give morereliable prevalence of doping. Moreover, doping at anamateur level seems to be less of a sport problem than asocial problem.
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