Self-Perceived Weight and Anabolic Steroid Misuse Among US Adolescent Boys

Jampel, J.D. et al. Journal of Adolescent Health. Volume 58, Issue 4, April 2016. pp. 397–402

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rawdealsteroids4.jpg

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Purpose: Anabolic steroid misuse is a growing concern among adolescent boys, and chronic misuse is associated with multisystemic health consequences. However, little is known about weight related predictors of anabolic steroid misuse. We examined the prediction of lifetime anabolic steroid misuse as a function of self-perceived weight status among US adolescent boys.

Methods: Analysis was undertaken using the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative data set sampling public and private high school students throughout the United States. Data from a total of 6,000 US adolescent boys were used in the present study.

Results: The prevalence of ever misusing anabolic androgenic steroids was 12.6% among boys who viewed themselves as very underweight, 11.9% for boys who viewed themselves as very overweight, compared with 3.8% for boys who viewed themselves as about the right weight. Compared to boys who viewed themselves as about the right weight, boys who self-perceived themselves as very underweight (adjusted odds ratio = 6.9, 95% confidence interval: 2.7–17.7, p < .001) and very overweight (adjusted odds ratio = 3.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.8–7.7, p < .001) were significantly associated with increased risk of anabolic androgenic steroid misuse.

Conclusions: Large effect size estimates were revealed, suggesting that anabolic androgenic steroid misuse is not solely a function of boys desiring increased mass; boys who desire leanness are also likely to misuse anabolic androgenic steroids. Future prevention efforts should target not only boys who view themselves as underweight but also those who perceive themselves as overweight.

Read the abstract here

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