The FAIR+ project (Forum for Anti-Doping in Recreational Sport+) is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme, and is in the middle of its three-year lifespan (January 2020- December 2022). Coordinated by EuropeActive, the project relies on a strong consortium who together are addressing the issue of doping in recreational sports across Europe.
FAIR+’s European survey on the use of performance enhancing drugs in recreational sport is now available here, and will be open to respondents until June 30, 2021.
For the past 20 years, anti-doping bodies and researchers have scrutinized the use of doping in elite sport, but many questions remain when it comes to recreational sports, mass sports, and leisure sports. The use of performance and image enhancing drugs in gyms and fitness has been investigated to some extent, though very little is known about the larger population playing sports and competing on lower levels.
Although often debated, it is still unclear to what extent drugs are used in recreational sports to achieve personal or sport related goals, such as improved performance, changes in physical appearance or simply the ability to perform. In elite sports, this is referred to as doping, which often provokes strong emotions. Legally, the use of drugs and medicines in recreational sports is not as well defined, but they still evoke strong reactions, even if we know very little about the nature and scope.
This survey is being conducted in order to provide the public and academic discussions with a more solid evidence base. The basic aim is to determine, as reliably as possible, the proportion of recreational athletes who use medications (legal or illegal) in connection with their sports activities and training.
Survey details and information
The survey is open until June 30th, 2021, and although open to all European countries, and to a variety of sport and physical activities, the data analysis will have a specific focus on results from Denmark, Italy, Germany, Greece, Norway, Spain, and the United Kingdom. To this end, the survey is available in Danish, English, Italian, German, Greek, Norwegian, and Spanish. The survey was developed by project partners who are experienced researchers from Saarland University (Germany), Sapienza University (Italy) and Aarhus University (Denmark).
To best approach the sensitive issue of drug use in recreational sport activities, the survey guarantees the full anonymity of all respondents. The chosen method – the Randomized Response Technique (RRT) – will warrant this by allowing participants to answer honestly without compromising themselves. Safeguarding anonymity goes so far that even in the unlikely event of someone intercepting the data while transmitted on the Internet, they would not be able to conclude anything about the individual respondent’s behavior. Thus, the RRT provides the strongest possible protection of the respondents’ anonymity and safety.