July 1992

Adolescent Body Image and Attitudes to Anabolic Steroid Use

Author Affiliations

From the Arkansas Children's Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock.

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(7):823-828. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160190055019

• Eleventh-grade students at seven high schools in central Arkansas were surveyed regarding anabolic steroid use, risk-taking behavior, satisfaction with body image, and attitudes and beliefs regarding anabolic steroids. A total of 1492 adolescents were surveyed. Fifty-one (7.6%) of 672 males and 12 (1.5%) of 806 females admitted anabolic steroid use. Fourteen students did not specify gender. Bivariate comparisons showed significant differences between users and nonusers in risk-taking behaviors and degree of satisfaction with body image and muscles. Users were more likely than nonusers to approve of anabolic steroid use in sports and to believe that anabolic steroid use could improve one's health. Multivariate analyses found gender, knowledge of beneficial side effects, knowing other anabolic steroid users, age, and race to be significantly related to anabolic steroid use. Information about steroids' effects seldom came from physicians, but often came from peers. Anabolic steroid use was strongly motivated by social influences, some knowledge of beneficial effects, and denial of adverse effects in white adolescent males in our study population.

(AJDC. 1992;146:823-828)