Gender- and Sport-Specific Associations Between Religiousness and Doping Behavior in High-Level Team Sports


Religiousness is known to be specifically associated with substance abuse, but there is an evident lack of studies investigating the association between religiousness and doping behavior as a specific type of substance abuse in athletes. This study aimed to provide evidence for possible gender- and sport-specific associations between religiousness and doping behavior among team-sport athletes of both genders. The participants were 886 athletes (21.9 ± 3.8 years of age; 352 females) involved in four sports: volleyball (n = 154; 78 females), handball (n = 206; 68 females), soccer (n = 316; 110 females) and basketball (n = 230; 96 females) from Croatia and Slovenia (all traditionally Roman Catholics). The data were collected using a previously validated structured questionnaire that examined sociodemographic, sport- and doping-related factors. In addition, religiousness was captured by the Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith questionnaire (SCSRF). Gender-stratified simple logistic regressions were applied to determine associations between covariates and doping behavior (criterion). There was no significant difference in potential doping behavior between males and females (OR 1.06, 95 % CI 0.76–1.46), while females reported higher religiousness (SCSRF: 23.11 ± 3.23 and 25.46 ± 7.2 for males and females, respectively; ttest = 1.82, p < 0.05). Younger female athletes and those with higher SCSRF score are found to be less prone to doping behavior. When models were adjusted for personal opinion about doping presence in sport and age, the SCSRF remained a significant predictor of potential doping behavior (OR 0.95, 95 % CI 0.91–0.99). For males, the belief that doping was present in sport was strongly associated with a higher likelihood of doping. Our results suggest that highly religious females involved in three of the studies sports (i.e., volleyball, handball and basketball) show a weaker tendency toward doping. Meanwhile, there is no evidence that religiousness influences doping behavior among male team-sport athletes. Therefore, sport-specific and gender-specific approach in studying possible relationships that exist between religiousness and different types of misusing substances in sport is warranted.


Performance enhancement Prevention Athletic performance Religiosity 

Autor / Fonte:Milan Zvan, Natasa Zenic, Damir Sekulic, Mladen Cubela, Blaz Lesnik Journal of Religion and Health 2016 May 11