Ego involvement increases doping likelihood

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Achievement goal theory (Nicolls, 1989) provides a framework to help understand how individuals behave in achievement contexts, such as sport. Evidence concerning the role of motivation in the decision to use banned performance enhancing substances (i.e., doping) is equivocal on this issue. The extant literature shows that dispositional goal orientation has been weakly and inconsistently associated with doping intention and doping use. It is possible that goal involvement, which describes the situational motivation state, is a stronger determinant of doping intention. Accordingly, the current study used an experimental design to examine the effects of goal involvement, manipulated using direct instructions and reflective writing, on doping likelihood in hypothetical scenarios in college athletes. The ego-involving goal increased doping likelihood compared to a control no goal and a task-involving goal. The present findings provide the first evidence that ego goal involvement can facilitate the decision to use doping to improve athletic performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Early online date13 Dec 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Dec 2017


  • cheating
  • motivation
  • achievement goals
  • doping


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