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Project: Pumping up the ego: Biographical studies on young people’s doping trajectories

The goal of this project was to provide increased knowledge of different types of pathways to doping, and also contribute to an understanding of how social media are used to discuss, legitimize and come into contact with doping.

This project was concluded in 2023.

Project information

Project manager
Jesper Andreasson
Other project members
Thomas Johansson, University of Gothenburg
Johan Öhman, PRODIS (Prevention of doping in Sweden)
Ellen Sverkersson, Linnaeus University
Participating organizations

Forte (the call for proposal Research in the field of alcohol, narcotics, doping, tobacco and gambling)
Sport Science (Department of Sport Science, Faculty of Social Sciences), Social Work (Department of Social Work, Faculty of Social Sciences)

More about the project

The overall aim of this project is to investigate and identify different ways of approaching and negotiating the meanings of illicit doping use and health in contemporary Swedish society. This will be done through the use of biographical narratives and analysis of the use of social media. We are interested in how young people acquire knowledge of doping, how they discuss the drugs online and away from keyboard, and how this relates to health, risk, family, and Swedish legislation.

The project, which takes a mixed-method approach, consists of two parts. The first part is a longitudinal ethnographic and qualitative study in which approximately 30 users are followed for two years.

The second part takes a deeper look at the ways in which doping is perceived and negotiated in an online community called Flashback. In particular, we will focus on how novices reach out to other community members for advice and how risk and health are discussed in the community.

To be able to prevent doping we need to understand the norms, ideas and networks of young people who obviously use doping, despite the risks and health costs associated with the practice. In order to develop effective prevention methods, we also need to understand the longitudinal processes through which this practice gradually becomes an option for the individual.

The project is connected with PRODIS, a network dedicated to the development and implementation of effective prevention programmes targeting young people's psychological health and progression to drug use.

The project is part of the research in the Ethnographic Forum research group at Linnaeus University and to Barn, ungdom, kultur och lärande (BUKL) at the University of Gothenburg.