Moral Identity Predicts Doping Likelihood via Moral Disengagement and Anticipated Guilt

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In this study, we integrated elements of social cognitive theory of moral thought and action (Bandura, 1991) and the social cognitive model of moral identity (Aquino & Reed, 2002) to better understand doping likelihood in amateur athletes. Participants (N = 398) recruited from a variety of team sports completed measures of moral identity, moral disengagement, anticipated guilt and doping likelihood. Moral identity predicted doping likelihood indirectly via moral disengagement and anticipated guilt. Anticipated guilt about potential doping mediated the relationship between moral disengagement and doping likelihood. Our findings provide novel evidence to suggest that athletes, who feel that being a moral person is central to their self-concept are less likely to use banned substances due to their lower tendency to morally disengage and the more intense feelings of guilt they expect to experience for using banned substances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • affective self-sanction
  • social cognitive theory
  • banned substances


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