South African Journal for Research in Sport, Physical Education and Recreation

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Mindfulness, psychological well-being and doping in talented young high-school athletes

Kim Nolte, Barend J M Steyn, Pieter E Krüger, Lizelle Fletcher


The primary aim of this research was to determine how mindfulness and psychological well-being relate to the propensity to use Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) in a sample of talented young athletes. A secondary aim was to determine how mindfulness and psychological well-being are related. This was a survey study with a quantitative research approach. South African Academy athletes at a high performance centre and competitive high school athletes from four private high schools participated in the survey. In the survey, two validated questionnaires (Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire [FFMQ] and Ryff's Psychological Well-being Scale), and a self-constructed questionnaire to establish the propensity of athletes to use PEDs were employed. 346 athletes (208 boys, 138 girls) aged M=16.0, SD=1.4 years participated. There was a significant correlation (r=0.32, p=0.00) between overall mindfulness and psychological well-being as measured by the FFMQ and Ryff's Psychological Well-being Scale respectively. Two possible predictors of propensity to use PEDs were identified by means of logistic regression and cross tabulation. It is concluded that mindfulness and psychological well-being were inversely related to the propensity to use PEDs.

Key words: Anti-doping; Performance-enhancing drugs; Psychological well-being; Mindfulness.

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