2016 Volume 26 Issue 1 Pages 1_13-1_28
Although studies conducted to understand why athletes do not use Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) are becoming more common, little is known about the problem from the “elite” athlete’s perspective. This study qualitatively identified the factors that had influenced the decisions not to dope of twelve retired Japanese elite athletes (six males and six females) who won Olympic medals after the Athens Games in 2004. Thematic analysis was used to extract meaning from the semi-structured interview data using MAXQDA11. Personal and socio-environmental factors underpinning their decisions not to dope were identified in the accounts. Personal factors included: (1) personal moral stance; (2) judgment from a wide perspective; (3) intrinsic motivation; (4) task orientation; and (5) resilience. Socio-environmental factors were: (1) education from parents; (2) education from coaches; (3) social pressure; (4) fair play culture in Japan; (5) secure elite sport climate; (6) monetary benefit from winning a medal; (7) access to and knowledge of PEDs. The above-mentioned factors might be useful for developing future anti-doping strategies under a situation where there is a growing social need for actively engaging in promoting elite sports as a national strategy in order to generate success in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, and in view of the fact that the pressure for athletes to engage in doping may be increased.