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Charles B. Corbin, Steven A. Feyrer-Melk, Craig Phelps and Lisa Lewis

A group of 1,680 high school athletes were studied to determine factors associated with anabolic steroid use. A questionnaire assessed personal factors and steroid use, behavior of others and steroid use, and availability of anabolic steroids. Use rates were 1.1% for females and 2.4% for males. Steroids were more readily available to males, who also reported knowing more steroid users than did females. Older athletes were more likely to consider steroid use, but differences in use rate were not significant from Grade 8 to 12. Using discriminant analysis, significant differences (p < .001) were found for profiles of steroid users and nonusers for both males and females. For both males and females, personal factors such as having considered steroid use, a willingness to use them if they were legal, and a willingness to use them if they could insure success in sports were the most useful in classifying athletes as steroid users versus nonusers.

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Edward Gregg and W. Jack Rejeski

This article reviews both human and nonhuman primate research dealing with the social psychobiologic effects of anabolic/androgenic steroids (AS). Descriptive research and anecdotal reports within the realm of sport suggest that AS may have a variety of psychological and behavioral effects including psychotic episodes and increased aggression. Recent investigations with a nonhuman primate model confirm that the effects of AS on psychological states and overt behavior can be quite varied, ranging from those that can be characterized as active (e.g., mania and aggression) to more passive states (e.g., depression and social withdrawal). There are also profound physiological effects of a biobehavioral origin that constitute a risk for cardiovascular disease. The most striking aspect of AS is that the effects of this drug are due to an interaction between its pharmacologic properties and the social milieu.

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Heather L. Sheppard, Sneha M. Raichada, Kellie M. Kouri, Lena Stenson-Bar-Maor and J. David Branch

A survey was used to collect anonymous cross-sectional data on demographics, exercise habits, and use of creatine and other supplements by exercisers in civilian (C) and military (M) health clubs. M (n = 133) reported more aerobic training and less use of creatine and protein supplements than C(n = 96, p < .05). Supplement users (SU, n = 194) and nonusers (SNU, n = 35) engaged in similar frequency and duration of aerobic exercise, as well as number of resistance exercise repetitions, but SU completed more sets for each resistance exercise (x̄ ± SE, 5 ± 1) than SNU (3 ± 1, p ≤ .05). Significant (p ≤ .05) associations were observed between SU and resistance training goal of strength (as opposed to endurance), as well as greater frequency of resistance training. Male gender, resistance training goal of strength, lower frequency and duration of aerobic training, and use of protein, ß-hydroxy-ß-methyl butyrate, and androstenedi-one/dehydroepiandrosterone supplements were all associated with creatine use (p < .05). For creatine users, the dose and length of creatine supplementation was 12.2±2.7g•day·1 for 40 ± 5 weeks. Popular magazines were the primary source of information on creatine (69%) compared to physicians (14%) or dietitians (10%, p ≤ .0001). This study underscores two potential public health concerns: (a) reliance on popular media rather than allied-health professionals for information on creatine, and (b) use of creatine, a popular supplement with unknown long-term effects, in combination with other anabolic supplements of questionable efficacy and/or safety.

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Daniel A. Galvão, Robert U. Newton and Dennis R. Taaffe

Resistance training has been shown to be the most effective exercise mode to induce anabolic adaptations in older men and women. Advances in imaging techniques and histochemistry have increased the ability to detect such changes, confirming the high level of adaptability that remains in aging skeletal muscle. This brief review presents a summary of the resistance-training studies that directly compare chronic anabolic responses to training in older (>60 years) men and women. Sixteen studies are summarized, most of which indicate similar relative anabolic responses between older men and women after resistance training. Relatively small sample sizes in most of the interventions limited their ability to detect significant sex differences and should be considered when interpreting these studies. Future research should incorporate larger sample sizes with multiple measurement time points for anabolic responses.

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Robert H. DuRant, Amy B. Middleman, Annie H. Faulkner, S. Jean Emans and Elizabeth R. Woods

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships among anabolic-androgenic steroid use and other drug use, strength training, sports participation, and school performance of high school students. Among males not participating in school sports, 37% of the variation in anabolic steroid use was accounted for by frequency of cocaine use, injected drug use, other drug use, and engaging in strength training. Injection drug use and poly-drug use accounted for 22.1% of the variation in the frequency of anabolic-steroid use among males participating in school sports, 29.1% of the variation among females participating in school sports, and 63.3% of the variation among females not participating in school sports.

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Martin Sharp and David Collins

A growing body of literature associates anabolic-androgenic steroids (AS) with psychological and behavioral disturbance. Studies report marked increases in aggression, and authors have suggested a causal relationship with the pharmacological properties of AS. There are, however, contradictions, methodological shortcomings, and variability within the literature that indicate a need to reevaluate the interpretation of these findings. After considering limitations in the pharmacological-oriented approach when compared to wider theory, a previously unconsidered social-psychological literature base regarding this problem is examined. The paper explores the role of social mediation in the relationship between AS use and aggression, demonstrating how psychosocial factors may bring about the aggressive behavior. Although these alternatives aim to place the nature of effects firmly back in the field of psychological explanation, it is proposed that the true nature of the effects will only become evident by adopting a complex biopsychosocial approach to the study of this problem.

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Tracy W. Olrich and Martha E. Ewing

A significant amount of attention has been given to the psychological effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use in sport (Bahrke, Yesalis, & Wright, 1996). However, apart from a few selected case studies, a relative dearth of information has been provided concerning the subjective experience of people using AAS. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of 10 men who were using or had previously used AAS. The participants in this study were weight trainers with primarily a bodybuilding emphasis. All had used AAS at some point in their training experience. The study involved in-depth interviews focusing on the AAS use experience. Nine of the 10 men described their AAS use experience in a very favorable manner. The men perceived increases in muscle mass, strength, peer recognition, social status, sexual performance, and vocational performance. These findings are discussed relative to current AAS educational programs and interventions.

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Kathleen E. Miller, Grace M. Barnes, Don Sabo, Merrill J. Melnick and Michael P. Farrell

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.

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Bryan E. Denham

Designer steroids contain chemical structures “derived from, or substantially similar to” anabolic steroids, which became Schedule III controlled substances in the United States in 1990. Chemists create designer steroids by reverse engineering existing drugs, altering their chemical structures, and creating new compounds. Seeking to help curtail problems with steroid-spiked dietary supplements, the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014 classified 25 designer steroids, many contained in supplements, as controlled substances. Previous versions of the 2014 legislation, introduced in 2010 and 2012, had failed to become law despite consistent news accounts of supplements contaminated with conventional and designer steroids, as well as steroid precursors. Guided conceptually by a streams-of-influence model, the present article examines regulatory processes involving designer steroids and discusses limitations on the capacity of news outlets to build policy agendas.

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C. Martyn Beaven, Will G. Hopkins, Kier T. Hansen, Matthew R. Wood, John B. Cronin and Timothy E. Lowe

Introduction:

Interest in the use of caffeine as an ergogenic aid has increased since the International Olympic Committee lifted the partial ban on its use. Caffeine has beneficial effects on various aspects of athletic performance, but its effects on training have been neglected.

Purpose:

To investigate the acute effect of caffeine on the exercise-associated increases in testosterone and cortisol in a double-blind crossover study.

Methods:

Twenty-four professional rugby-league players ingested caffeine doses of 0, 200, 400, and 800 mg in random order 1 hr before a resistance-exercise session. Saliva was sampled at the time of caffeine ingestion, at 15-min intervals throughout each session, and 15 and 30 min after the session. Data were log-transformed to estimate percent effects with mixed modeling, and effects were standardized to assess magnitudes.

Results:

Testosterone concentration showed a small increase of 15% (90% confidence limits, ± 19%) during exercise. Caffeine raised this concentration in a dose-dependent manner by a further small 21% (± 24%) at the highest dose. The 800-mg dose also produced a moderate 52% (± 44%) increase in cortisol. The effect of caffeine on the testosterone:cortisol ratio was a small decline (14%; ± 21%).

Conclusion:

Caffeine has some potential to benefit training outcomes via the anabolic effects of the increase in testosterone concentration, but this benefit might be counteracted by the opposing catabolic effects of the increase in cortisol and resultant decline in the testosterone:cortisol ratio.