carnegieXchange: School of Sport

Survey exploring coaches’ clean sport behaviours launched to aid the development of an International Framework for Coach Anti-Doping Education

Dr Laurie Patterson, Senior Lecturer in the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University, is leading a team of researchers in the development of an international framework for coach anti-doping education.

Published on 09 Oct 2020
Laurie Patterson Photo

Funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the project aims to enhance anti-doping education and information provision for coaches across the globe. This will be achieved by conducting a comprehensive audit and critical appraisal of current global coach anti-doping education and undertaking systematic consultations with coaches, education providers and policy makers worldwide.

Speaking about the project, Dr Patterson said, “The survey that has launched today is a key component of a larger project to enhance anti-doping programmes for coaches. To ensure that programmes for coaches meet their needs, and consider the barriers and enablers to coaches’ clean sport behaviours, we are seeking the views of coaches in the UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in the first instance. In the coming months, we will of course be engaging the rest of the world in our consultations, to ensure that all voices are heard.”

Dr Patterson explained that the survey has been a long time in the making. She began her work with coaches in 2011, when she successfully attained a funded PhD studentship in the Carnegie School of Sport under the supervision of Professor Susan Backhouse and Professor Pat Duffy. Since then, Laurie has been committed to developing the much-needed evidence base surrounding this key stakeholder group, through explorations of their experiences and opinions in relation to doping prevention. Most recently, this has included a review of coach anti-doping literature, led by PhD student Luke Barnes, and an intervention evaluation undertaken in collaboration with academics in Australia (Curtin University) and Greece (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).

The collaborative work that Dr Patterson has undertaken over an almost ten-year period has informed the initial content of the survey. When reflecting on the survey development process, Laurie commented, “It really has been a team effort! I have continually gone back and forth with versions of the survey to my colleagues, and their input, and support, has been invaluable”. The current Leeds Beckett team comprises Professor Backhouse, Dr Nick Stanger, Dr Helen Staff and Luke Barnes.

The team also drafted in a number of experts in anti-doping, coaching and behavioural science to review the content of the survey to ensure its relevance to coaches and the field of anti-doping, as well as assess the degree to which the content represented the survey’s theoretical underpinnings. In this regard, the survey is grounded in the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, Behaviour (COM-B) Model of Michie and colleagues, and has provisionally been named the CAD-COMB Scale (standing for Coach Anti-Doping: Capability, Opportunity, Motivation-Behaviour).

Speaking about her decision to launch the survey during a global pandemic, Laurie explained, “The research is timely given WADA’s recent release of an International Standard for Education (ISE), which is effective from January 2021. The insights that we hope to gain from coaches will be combined with our earlier insights from policy makers, programme developers and an audit of current provision for coaches worldwide. This evidence will be used to produce a compendium of strategies and resources that WADA can make available to national and international sporting, anti-doping and coaching organisations to inform their programmes. With the ISE going live in January, sporting and anti-doping organisations are in a process of planning and implementing updated programmes. We want to help the community in any way we can as they go through this phase of development.”


If you are actively coaching sport in the UK and Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and you would like to help, please visit complete the survey.