Development of a questionnaire to identify student-athletes at risk of usingtainted nutritional supplements

Project: Research project

Project Details


Development of a questionnaire to identify student-athletes at risk of usingtainted nutritional supplements Development of a questionnaire to identify student-athletes at risk of usingtainted nutritional supplements Most athletes report the use of nutritional supplements 1, and such use comes with the risk of unintended doping as supplements may contain banned substances.2,3 A positive doping test, as the result of using a contaminated nutritional supplement, could lead to negative consequences on health, or suspension or even expulsion from sport 4, resulting in loss of sponsorship, income, and previous achievements. It may also damage relationships with friends, family, and support personnel, as well as permanently affect the athletes reputation and credibility, which are important for future career prospects. Although the use of certified third-party tested supplements is considered a safe alternative to not using nutritional supplements 5, our data suggest that supplements are tremendously popular, and 50-80% of athletes still use uncertified supplements 6,7 regardless of strict liability for drug negative tests instituted by (inter)national sport organizations. Currently, a major obstacle in the field of inadvertent anti-doping is that there are very few data available about athletes attitudes and barriers that would predict the use or non-use of certified third-party tested supplements.8 It is, therefore, difficult to target specific athletes that need more or different types of coaching and education on the topic of safe nutritional supplement use. To solve this problem, we propose to examine athlete attitudes towards dietary supplements using a validated questionnaire and use this input to determine predictors that can be used in the form of a new short questionnaire to identify student-athletes that make risky nutritional supplement choices. Therefore, the goal is to develop a new short screening questionnaire to allow athletic departments to identify student-athletes that are not using certified third-party tested supplements. This objective will be realized by working on two dependent sub-aims and accompanying hypotheses which are: 1A) To present student-athletes with a questionnaire, with high content validity, to determine their knowledge of, attitudes toward, and motivations for using third-party tested products, as well as barriers to their use and their access to their sport organizations nutrition resources and services. Hypotheses: Athletes that buy principally third-party tested products will 1) have higher supplement knowledge survey scores and 2) report more positive attitudes toward and motivations for third-party tested products than those that mainly buy supplements that are not third-party tested. 1B) From this collective information we aim to identify responses that predict attitudes that are related to the use of nutritional supplements that are not third-party tested. To our knowledge, this will be the first athlete survey that will allow such a critically important prediction. The outcomes will be illustrated in an infographic that can be used by CPSDA as part of member education. It is important to emphasize that this project is not directly trying to change athlete-behavior, but it aims to arrive at predictors to identify unsafe supplement use so that sports RDs and their athletic departments can follow up with athletes that need more guidance.
Effective start/end date7/1/226/30/23


  • Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA): $14,931.00


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