A Comparison of Health Risk Behavior in Adolescent Users of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids, by Gender and Athlete Status

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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Contrary to popular assumption, adolescent anabolic-androgenic steroid use is not limited to serious male athletes. This paper examines the relationships among gender, athletic participation, and health-related problem behaviors among adolescent steroid users. Regression analyses were performed on a nationally representative sample of over 16,000 high school students (the 1997 Youth Risk Behavior Survey), of whom nearly 500 had used steroids. Compared to nonusers, steroid users were significantly more likely to report substance use, suicidal behavior, and sexual risk-taking; however, patterns of risk behavior varied by the user’s athletic status and gender. After controlling for age, race, ethnicity, and parental education, both athletic participation and female gender were negatively associated with most risk behaviors among users of anabolic steroids.

K.E. Miller and G.M. Barnes are with the Research Institute on Addictions, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY; D. Sabo is with the Department of Sociology, D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY; M.J. Melnick is with the Department of Physical Education and Sport, S.U.N.Y. College at Brockport, Brockport, NY; and M.P. Farrell is with the Department of Sociology, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.