Parental pressure may drive young athletes towards doping

London, Feb 26 (IANS) Parental pressure to be perfect can put young male athletes at increased risk of using banned substances to enhance sporting performance, reveals a new study.

“With the rise of so-called ‘tiger’ parenting where strict and demanding parents push their children to high levels of achievement, this study reveals the price young athletes may choose to pay to meet their parents’ expectations and dreams,” said lead researcher Daniel Madigan from University of Kent in England.

Anti-doping programmes should target junior athletes early in their sporting careers, and parents should be made aware of the potential consequences of such pressure, the researchers suggested.

The study examined perfectionism and attitudes towards doping in 129 male British junior athletes (average age 17 years) in four different aspects of perfectionism.

Of all the factors considered, the study, published online in the Journal of Sports Sciences, found that it was only parental pressure that showed a positive relationship with positive doping attitudes.

The other factors investigated were an athlete’s striving for perfection, their concerns about making mistakes and pressure from their coach to be perfect.

The researchers said the study will now be widened to examine if young female athletes are similar and if the findings are the same for those taking part in team versus individual sports.

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