Faster, higher, stronger? Results from a Belgian survey on PED use among gym-goers
The doping issue is far from being restricted to elite sport. There is evidence that recreational sportspeople use legal and illegal performance-enhancing drugs. In particular, the use of anabolic steroids in fitness environments is increasingly considered a public health problem in various countries, and surveys examining illicit drug use among gym-goers follow accordingly. Belgian anti-doping policies today increasingly target recreational gym-goers but, to date, no serious quantitative research has been yet conducted in Belgium about the prevalence of, and the motives for, PED use in a fitness context.
This research project (funded by Belgian Science Policy) is based on a multimethod design, i.e. quantitative and qualitative methods. First, we will conduct an online targeted survey among gym-goers in the different parts of Belgium (Brussels, Flanders, Wallonia). The online survey will be administered to a cohort of at least 500 gym-goers. Given the respondents’ tendency to give socially desirable answers when surveyed on sensitive topics, we will partly tackle the difficulty by using randomized response models. Second, in order to better understand the motives for using/not using PEDs, and the perception of alleged health risks, we will organize six focus groups with gym-goers and relevant stakeholders (fitness room owners, anti-doping policy-makers).
Results and Conclusion
Since this research project was ongoing at the time of the abstract submission, we cannot provide the results here. However, methods and results will be presented and discussed during the presentation.