According to its website, WADA is committed to improving evidence-based doping prevention strategies through social science research. Understanding the fundamental differences between athletes who choose to compete clean and those who resort to doping or why some athletes decided to dope – despite being well aware of the harmful effects of doping and of anti-doping rules – will assist in ensuring that doping prevention strategies are effective and efficient. In fact, I contributed to this research myself after testing positive and owning-up to my involvement in doping, and was honored to have the opportunity to do so.
WADA’s Social Science Research Grant Program was created to ensure that preventive anti-doping education programs were designed using an evidence-based approach. Since the creation of the Program in 2005, 26 projects have been funded with awards nearing the US$730,000 mark.
Target Research Program
To further ensure effective doping prevention strategies, WADA’s Education Committee identifies specific areas that they feel require additional evidence in the way of social science research. Several years worth of WADA-funded research is available for review online here. One study of particular interest to this author, The Development and Validation of a Doping Attitudes and Behaviour Scale (DABS), is summarized below, and a subsequent post will present the full results of the study.