The psychology behind doping in sport

Growth Horm IGF Res. 2009 Aug;19(4):285-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ghir.2009.04.003. Epub 2009 May 27.


Drugs and methods to improve physical performance among athletes have been used since the beginning of sport history, but the use of performance enhancing drugs has not always been regarded as cheating. In short, the motives for doping are improving and maintaining physical functioning, coping with the social/psychological pressures and striving for social and psychological goals, including economic benefits. Factors such as, "doping dilemma", "win at all costs", cost versus benefit, and the specificity of some specific doping agents, also play major roles. It seems that action on the athletes' attitude about the achievement of physical improvement and creating effective methods to reveal the drug abuse, are two main ways in winning the struggle against doping.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Attitude
  • Doping in Sports / psychology*
  • Ethics
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Human Growth Hormone / analysis
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Sports / psychology*


  • Human Growth Hormone