Ethics, Integrity and Well-Being in Elite Sport: A Systematic Review

Authors: Deborah Agnew, Philippa Henderson and Carl Woods

Corresponding Author:
Deb Agnew, PhD
GPO Box 2100
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia 5001
+61 8 8201 3456

Dr. Deborah Agnew: is a lecturer in the School of Education at Flinders University in South Australia. Her research interests include Australian football, masculinity, sports retirement and men’s health. She is a member of the Flinders SHAPE (Sport, Health and Physical Education) Research Centre and teaches in the Bachelor of Sport, Health and Physical Activity.

Ms. Philippa Henderson: has a Masters degree in public health and teaches across a wide variety of health topics in the School of Education and the School of Health Sciences at Flinders University in South Australia. Her research interests include sport, physical activity and well-being as well as the health and well-being of children.

Dr. Carl Woods: is a lecturer of Skill Acquisition and Motor Learning in the Discipline of Sport and Exercise Science at James Cook University. His research primarily focuses on talent identification, talent development and coaching in junior team sports; with a particular interest in Australian football. He currently provides research support to Australian football State Academy programs; with this being oriented around different aspects of performance analysis, skill acquisition and coach education.

Ethics, integrity and well-being in elite sport: A systematic review

Background: Athletes are expected to be good role models, compete fairly and allow the public insight into their personal lives away from sport.
Objective: The purpose of this paper was to conduct a systematic review on integrity, ethics and well-being in elite level sport.
Methods: A systematic search of SPORTDiscus, ScienceDirect, Taylor & Francis and Informit was conducted. The selection criteria were; published between 2006-2016, full-text availability, peer reviewed and English language. Twenty-three articles met the criteria for inclusion in this review and were analysed through an inductive thematic synthesis approach.
Results: Three themes emerged through the inductive thematic synthesis approach; sportspersonship and ethics, scandal and well-being. The concept of sportspersonship extends beyond the rules of sport and is strongly linked to the character of athletes. Sports environments are a key factor in the well-being of athletes and contribute to the expectations placed on athletes, particularly with regard to winning.
Conclusions: Ethics, integrity, sportspersonship and well-being are interrelated concepts in elite sport. Expectations placed on athletes may be unrealistic and may have negative consequences on well-being. It is important to understand the factors contributing to athlete well-being in order to develop strategies to minimize the adversities faced by athletes.


2017-01-19T09:14:49-05:00February 23rd, 2017|Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Ethics, Integrity and Well-Being in Elite Sport: A Systematic Review

Ethical Considerations of Genetic Manipulation in Sport

Submission by Dr. John T. Ehrbar1*

1* Student of doctoral studies in sports management at the United States Sports Academy


New technologies are currently being developed that will enable medical professionals to modify genes for medicinal purposes.  As the process continues to be refined, the emergence of a controversial new use for this technology has ignited some serious debate.  Scientists have submitted that genetic modification could potentially be used as a method of performance enhancement in sport.  There are different schools of thought on this type of performance enhancement, and researchers and theorists have argued the advantages and disadvantages of using such a technology.  These arguments are discussed in the present review.  Though the ethical debate on this matter is in its infancy, a general consensus is that the allowance of genetic modification for the purpose of enhancing performance in sport will most certainly create a new look, along with new concerns, for sport in the future.

Key words: ethics, gene doping, sport, performance, enhancement (more…)

2015-05-28T10:08:23-05:00May 27th, 2015|Contemporary Sports Issues|Comments Off on Ethical Considerations of Genetic Manipulation in Sport

Sartrean Ethics and Sport for Development and Peace Programs

Submitted by Zachary Smith

Zachary Smith is a graduate student in sport studies at the United States Sports Academy and currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI.


The United Nations recently declared the first ever International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in recognition of “the power of sport to erase cultural barriers and mobilize people around the world” (9). Unfortunately, while many organizations recognize the ethical neutrality of sport in name, this is often functionally forgotten as sport is co-opted for use by other programs. This paper aims to briefly outline this functional issue by observing the cognitive dissonance within the UN’s statement and its characterization of the Olympics and World Cup events as archetypes of sport for development and peace programs. It will briefly examine this dissonance through the lens of a Sartrean ethic of ambiguity and recast the Olympic and World Cup events as archetypes of cultural hegemony. Finally, it will be suggested that until this dissonance is reconciled, SDP’s will suffer from “inauthenticity,” severely hampering the program’s ability to achieve stated development and peace goals, jeopardizing the “survival of sport as a noble human enterprise” (Morgan, 1976 p. 93) and turning it into a “mere vehicle for the exploitation of man’s own self interests” (Morgan, 1976 p. 91).


2017-04-18T08:56:48-05:00July 17th, 2014|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Sartrean Ethics and Sport for Development and Peace Programs