A script analysis of the role of athletes' support networks as social facilitators in doping in sport

Zarina I. Vakhitova, Peter J. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to examine the role of athletes' support networks in doping in sport from a crime prevention perspective. To achieve this objective, the researchers conducted an in-depth script analysis of documents related to investigations in 2012 by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and in 2015 by the Cycling Independent Reform Commission of the doping programme carried out by the US Postal Service cycling team between 1996 and 2012. The results suggest that athletes' support networks - such as team doctors, sports scientists, team directors and family members - play a critical role as social facilitators in doping in sport by encouraging, supporting and protecting both the doping programmes and the athletes who participate in them. This paper argues that a greater proportion of prevention measures must focus beyond the athlete themselves and on the activities of individuals within an athlete's support network. The paper proposes several situational prevention strategies specifically targeting the activities of social facilitators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-188
Number of pages21
JournalCrime Prevention and Community Safety
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Crime script analysis
  • Criminal opportunity theoretical framework
  • Doping in sport
  • Rational choice theory
  • Routine activity theory
  • Social facilitators

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