SPM120 Performance-enhancement and anti-doping in sport (5 ECTS) 

Course facts

Course code
Course title
Performance-enhancement and anti-doping in sport
Course language
Academic responsible
Sigmund Loland


This web-based course is for everyone who wants to gain a better understanding of performance enhancement and anti-doping in sport. More specifically, students will gain a research and practice based multi-disciplinary overview of definitions, prevalence, social-cultural aspects, policies, and values in relation to performance-enhancing substances and methods in sport.

Learning outcomes

After having completed the course the students shall be able to

  • define and categorize performance-enhancing means and methods and describe their regulation in sport (anti-doping)
  • describe and offer explanations based on social science of the prevalence of the use of various performance-enhancing means and methods in sport
  • discuss the ethics of the use of performance-enhancing means and method and anti-doping in sport
  • contribute to evidence-based and informed anti-doping policies in sport

Learning styles and activities

The course is built on three modules. The modules consist of written texts, video-clips and tests where the students are encourage to reflect on the topics.

Mandatory assignment

  • All the material in each module must be covered. The online-learning platform "Canvas" will automatically control the progress.
  • At the end of every module, the student must submit a reflection note on an assigned topic. The reflection note will be evaluated with pass/fail.

All reflection notes must be passed to qualify for the final home exam.


The final home exam (three weeks) includes two or three assignments with student responses. The responses should not extend 2500 words. The exam is graded A-F.

Texts are to be submitted via the software Wiseflow. 

Core material


Backhouse, S., Whitaker, L., Patterson, L., Erickson, K., & McKenna, J. (2016). Social psychology of doping in sport: A mixed studies narrative synthesis (Project Report). World Anti-Doping Agency. https://eprints.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/id/eprint/3433/
* This book is available online: Click here to download.

World Anti-Doping Agency. (2021). World Anti-doping Code 2021. https://www.wada-ama.org/en/resources/world-anti-doping-program/world-anti-doping-code
* This book is available online: Click here to download.


NB! To open electronic articles off campus, you need to use the following VPN connection: Click here to download.

Gleaves, J., Petróczi, A., Folkerts, D., De Hon, O., Macedo, E., Saugy, M., & Cruyff, M. (2021). Doping prevalence in competitive sport: evidence synthesis with “best practice” recommendations and reporting guidelines from the WADA Working Group on Doping Prevalence. Sports Medicine, 51(9), 1909-1934. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-021-01477-y
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Hanstad, D. V., Smith, A., & Waddington, I. (2008). The establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency: A study of the management of organizational change and unplanned outcomes. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 43(3), 227-249. https://doi.org/10.1177/1012690208100552
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Houlihan, B., & Hanstad, D. V. (2019). The effectiveness of the World Anti-Doping Agency: Developing a framework for analysis. International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics, 11(2), 203-217. https://doi.org/10.1080/19406940.2018.1534257
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

Kayser, B., & Tolleneer, J. (2017). Ethics of a relaxed antidoping rule accompanied by harm-reduction measures. Journal of medical ethics, 43(5), 282-286. https://doi.org/10.1136/medethics-2015-102659
* This PDF is available through Canvas.
(OK based on §15 of the Copyright Law)

Petroczi, A., Heyes, A., Thrower, S. N., Martinelli, L. A., Backhouse, S. H., Boardley, I. D., & Consortium, R. (2021). Understanding and building clean (er) sport together: Community-based participatory research with elite athletes and anti-doping organisations from five European countries. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 55, 101932. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.101932
* The article is available online: Click here to download.

1 DIGITAL COMPENDIUM - available through Canvas:
Loland, S. (Ed.). (2022). SPM120: Performance-enhancement and anti-doping in sport [Digital Compendium].
* The PDF is available through Canvas.

Table of contents (reference list) after APA-style 7th ed.:
Chester, N., Wojek, N., & Schumacher, Y. O. (2022). Doping control in sport. I D. Mottram & N. Chester, N. Drugs in sport (8th ed., pp. 87-107). Routledge.

Coakley, J. (2019). The social construction of human enhancement: Implications for sports. I K. van de Ven, K. J. D. Mulrooney & J. McVeigh (Eds.), Human enhancement drugs (pp. 40-53). Routledge.

Houlihan, B. (2022). The evolution of performance-enhancing drug use in sport. In O. Rabin & O. Corazza (Eds.), Emerging drugs in sport (pp. 3-15). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-79293-0_1

Loland, S. (2015). Performance enhancing biomedical technology in sport: Where are the limits. In V. Møller, I. Waddington & J. Hoberman (Eds.), Routledge handbook of drugs and sport (pp. 54-63). Routledge.

Murray, T. H. (2015). Doping and anti-doping: An inquiry into the meaning of sport. In M. McNamee & W. J. Morgan (Eds.), Routledge handbook of the philosophy of sport (pp. 315-332). Routledge.

Waddington, I. (2015). Towards an understanding of drug use in sport: A medical sociological perspective. In V. Møller, I. Waddington & J. Hoberman (Eds.), Routledge handbook of drugs and sport (pp. 405-418). Routledge.