Objectives: Given the sensitive nature of performance-enhancing drug use or doping in sport, obtaining reliable information on attitudes to doping may be severely compromised by socially desirable responding. Methods: The influence of social desirability on the relationship between attitudes to doping and doping susceptibility was examined in 224 Australian athletes. Participants completed a questionnaire package containing items tapping the three constructs of interest. Data analyses focused on mediation and moderation effects using structural equation modelling and hierarchical regression analysis respectively. Results: Structural equation modelling analyses showed social desirability to partially mediate the association between doping attitudes and doping susceptibility, whereas regression analyses revealed strong support for the presence of a moderation effect of social desirability. Conclusions: As a limitation of self-reported data, these findings highlight the importance of controlling for social desirability when obtaining athletes' self-reported attitudes towards doping and their susceptibility for engaging in doping in sport.
- Performance-enhancing drugs
- Structural equation modelling