Evaluation of knowledge, attitudes and practices of doping among elite middle and long distance runners in Kenya
The purpose of this study was to assess the knowledge, attitude and practice of doping among elite middle and long distance runners in Kenya. The main objectives were to establish the athletes’ level of awareness with regard to doping information disseminated by World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA), to determine their attitude towards doping and to establish the occurrence of anti-doping rule violations among the athletes. The study also investigated the most common sources of doping information used by the athletes and the association between gender, age, experience and doping knowledge. The target population was Kenyan elite middle and long distance runners. A stratified sample of 432 male and female athletes in middle and long distance running was selected from the population of Kenyan elite athletes. A total of 327 athletes successfully completed the questionnaires. The study was a cross sectional survey based on self-reported questionnaires. Data generated was analyzed using SPSS computer software version 17.0. Overall mean score on knowledge of doping by Kenyan athletes was established to be 46.4%, with male scoring slightly higher than females (47.7% and 44.7%) respectively. Assessment of attitude revealed that majority (82.3%) of Kenyan athletes had a negative attitude towards doping with varying degrees. Only 17.7% indicated a positive attitude. On assessment of prevalence of doping among Kenyan athletes, majority of the athletes (96%) denied having ever used Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs), only 4% admitted having used it. But asked whether they knew anyone using it, 38% admitted it while 62% did not. Twenty one point four (21.4%) of the athletes also admitted using herbal and nutritional supplements of which 54% indicated medium to low knowledge of the supplements. The most common source of doping information used by Kenya athletes was established to be Athletics Kenya (30.6%), followed by IAAF (19.4%). The most preferred website was AK, at 41.3%, followed by WADA at 12.3%. In conclusion, Kenyan runners have slightly below average knowledge on doping issues and a strong negative attitude towards the practice. Actual practice of doping is low. Pearson chi square indicated a significant association between age and knowledge of doping (χ2 value 31.6, p = .002). Pearson correlation indicated a weak correlation between gender and knowledge (Pearson correlation = .008 and p = .147) while experience did not have a significant association with knowledge (χ2 = 8.03, p = .531). There is need to enhance doping education to improve on knowledge of doping issues and to establish proper structures and policies of doping control in order to comprehensively curb the problem of doping.