Objective: To provide an in-depth analysis of 12 female self-reported anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) users.
Design: Web-based survey.
Setting: A Web-based survey was posted on 38 discussion boards of various fitness, bodybuilding, weightlifting, and steroid Web sites between February and June 2009.
Interventions: Participants completed a survey regarding demographics and use of AAS and other performance-enhancing agents (PEAs).
Participants: A cohort of 1519 strength-trained subjects fully completed and submitted a valid survey. Five hundred eighteen subjects were self-reported AAS users consisting of 12 women and 506 men. One thousand one subjects were non-AAS users consisting of 230 women and 771 men.
Main outcome measures: Demographic data and use of AAS and other PEAs.
Results: The female AAS users reported using an average of 8.8 PEAs in their routine. Compared with male AAS users and female non-AAS users, respectively, female AAS users were more likely to have met criteria for substance-dependence disorder (58.3% vs 23.4%; P = 0.01; 58.3% vs 9.1%; P < 0.001), have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness (50.0% vs 17.4%; P = 0.01; 50.0% vs 22.2%; P = 0.04), and have reported a history of sexual abuse (41.7% vs 6.1%; P < 0.001; 41.7% vs 15.3%; P = 0.03).
Conclusions: Female AAS users practice polypharmacy. Female AAS users are more likely to have qualified for substance-dependence disorder, have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness, and have a history of sexual abuse than both male AAS users and female non-AAS users.