Project SAFE YOU: Fighting Steroid Use in Sports through Behavioural Science
The use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) is an ongoing problem in professional sports, and recent evidence has suggested that PEDs use is also increasingly prevalent among young people who engage in grassroots and amateur sports. The use of steroids and other PEDs has been associated with a wide range of adverse health and psychological outcomes, including liver and kidney failure, heart disease, stroke, anger and hostility, depression, suicidal ideation, and death. Scholars and sport governing bodies have called for more concerted action to tackle PEDs use in both recreational and competitive sports, especially among young people.
Project SAFE YOU was founded by the Erasmus+ Sport Programme of the European Commission. It was created to assess the prevalence of PEDs in recreational and competitive sports, as well as the psychological risk factors involved in their use.
It aims to develop innovative web-based educational resources that will help athletes and other people with active lifestyles to make informed choices.
Dr Lambros Lazuras, Reader in Social Psychology and researcher at the Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology at Sheffield Hallam University, has led the implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of the following educational resources developed in SAFE YOU in 5 European countries
- An interactive, web-based, educational video that helps athletes and exercisers make informed choices about PED use.
- A mobile phone application presenting evidence-based information about steroid and other PED use.
Project SAFE YOU also includes a range of case studies of exercisers and professional athletes and their experiences with PED use, problem-based learning activities, and web-based educational material that can be used by teachers, physical educators, coaches, athletes, and other sport professionals and stakeholders who want to increase awareness and educate people about making informed choices towards PED use. Project SAFE YOU is already embedded in the anti-doping educational activities of sport authorities (e.g., Cyprus Sport Organisation), and is recognized by the European Commission as a European Success Story
Find out more at the SAFE YOU website and in the video below.
Lazuras, L., Barkoukis, V., Loukovitis, A., Brand, R., Hudson, A., Mallia, L.,Michaelides, M., Muzi, M., Petroczi, A., & Zelli, A. (2017). “I Want It All, and I Want It Now”: Lifetime prevalence and reasons for using and abstaining from controlled performance and appearance enhancing substances (PAES) among young exercisers and amateur athletes in five european countries. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 717.
Lazuras, L. (2018). Psychological science for doping prevention in sport and exercise settings. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference 2-4 May, Nottingham, UK.
Lazuras, L., & Barkoukis, V. (2018). Performance and appearance enhancing drug use in sports: A psychological perspective. In G. Tenenbaum, & R. C. Ecklund (Eds.), Handbook of Sport Psychology. New York: Wiley.