A retrospective 30-year follow-up study of former Swedish-elite male athletes in power sports with a past anabolic androgenic steroids use: a focus on mental health

Br J Sports Med. 2013 Oct;47(15):965-9. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2012-091340. Epub 2013 Apr 23.

Abstract

Background: The knowledge concerning the long-term effect of former anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS)-use on mental health is sparse.

Aim: This study aims to investigate whether previous AAS-use affects mental health, present sociodemographic data, sport activity and substance abuse in a retrospective 30-year follow-up study of former elite athletes.

Methods: Swedish male-elite power sport athletes (n=683) on the top 10 national ranking lists during any of the years 1960-1979 in wrestling, Olympic lifting, powerlifting and the throwing events in track and field answered a questionnaire.

Results: At least 20% of the former athletes admitted previous AAS-use. They had more often sought professional expertise for mental problems and had used illicit drugs compared to those not having used AAS. The AAS-users also differed in former sport activity pattern compared to non AAS-users.

Conclusions: It is clear that a relationship exists between use of AAS and mental-health problems. Further studies need to be done in order to clarify this relationship.

Keywords: Anabolic steroids; Athletics; Doping; Drug use; Psychology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anabolic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Doping in Sports / psychology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Mental Health
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sports / psychology*
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Sweden / epidemiology

Substances

  • Anabolic Agents