The significance of anabolic androgenic steroids in a Swedish prison population

Compr Psychiatry. 2010 May-Jun;51(3):312-8. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2009.05.007. Epub 2009 Jul 9.


Use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) has been associated with adverse psychiatric effect, violent behavior, and criminality. The aim of this study was to further investigate the motives for and consequences of AAS use, with focus on violent and antisocial behavior. Fifty-nine prisoners were interviewed on their use of AAS, and their history was mapped with Addiction Severity Index interviews. Of these prisoners, 56% admitted previous use of AAS, of whom 24% declared to have committed violent crimes in connection with use of AAS. However, the only significant difference between users and nonusers with regard to criminal history when measured with the Addiction Severity Index was that the AAS users more often stated that they had been prosecuted for crimes labeled as "other crimes," which did not include violent crimes. The reported side effects of AAS corresponded well to those previously reported. These results indicate that use of AAS is common among Swedish prisoners and that the motives and consequences of such use are similar to what has been observed in other AAS-using populations. Furthermore, this study supports earlier notions that misuse of AAS might cause violent behavior, but only in certain individuals and mainly in combination with other substances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents / toxicity*
  • Androgens / toxicity*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / chemically induced*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / epidemiology*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Body Mass Index
  • Crime / psychology*
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects
  • Prisoners / psychology*
  • Prisoners / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Factors
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / epidemiology
  • Substance Abuse, Intravenous / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Sweden
  • Violence / psychology*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Anabolic Agents
  • Androgens