Attitudes and behaviors with regards to androgenic anabolic steroids among male adolescents in a county of Sweden

Subst Use Misuse. 2005;40(1):1-12. doi: 10.1081/ja-200030485.


Aims: The aim of this study was to investigate attitudes towards androgenic anabolic steroids among male adolescents who have used anabolics compared to those who have not.

Design and setting: A cross-sectional survey was performed in the year 2000 in all secondary schools in the county of Halland on the west coast of Sweden.

Participants and measurements: An anonymous multiple-choice questionnaire was distributed to all classes with 14-, 16-, and 18-year-old male adolescents. The response rate was 92.7% (n=4049).

Findings: Those who admitted having used androgenic anabolic steroids differed in several ways from those who had not. Fewer believed androgenic anabolic steroids to be harmful [odds ratio (OR) = 0.15, 95% CI 0.08-0.30] and more believed that girls preferred boys with large muscles (OR = 6.1, 95% CI 3.4-11.0). They trained more often at gyms (OR = 5.6, 95% CI 3.0-10.6), drank more alcohol (OR = 4.2, 95% CI 2.0-9.1), and had used narcotic drugs more often (OR = 15.3, 95% CI 8.5-27.5) than the other male adolescents. More immigrants than native-born adolescents had used anabolics (OR = 4.2, 95% CI 2.2-7.9).

Conclusion: Attitudes towards anabolics differ between users and nonusers. These aspects may be beneficial to focus on as one part of a more complex intervention program in order to change these attitudes and decrease the misuse of androgenic anabolic steroids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anabolic Agents* / toxicity
  • Androgens* / toxicity
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Constitution / drug effects
  • Body Image
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Doping in Sports / psychology
  • Emigration and Immigration / statistics & numerical data
  • Growth Hormone / toxicity
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Illicit Drugs / toxicity
  • Male
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Opioid-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens
  • Illicit Drugs
  • Growth Hormone