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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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Hugh Gilmore, Stephen Shannon, Gerard Leavey, Martin Dempster, Shane Gallagher and Gavin Breslin

Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are hormones that comprise derivates of testosterone that regulate the development of male sexual characteristics ( Aljubory, 2019 ). A substance can be defined as an AAS through the following criteria: (i) a chemical, or (ii) pharmacological compound that is

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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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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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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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Column-editor : Robert D. Kersey

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Vincent G. Stilger, Jeffrey A. Potteiger, Betsey Schmidt and Robert D. Chetlin

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Charles E. Yesalis and Michael S. Bahrke

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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.