Rates of Steroid Use High in Gay, Bisexual Adolescent Boys

(HealthDay News) — The prevalence of steroid misuse is much higher in gay or bisexual adolescent boys than in heterosexual boys in the United States, according to research published online February 2 in Pediatrics.

Aaron J. Blashill, PhD, and Steven A. Safren, PhD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, analyzed data for 17,250 adolescent boys from the 2005 and 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys to assess the prevalence of anabolic-androgenic steroid misuse among sexual minority boys versus heterosexual boys.

The researchers found that sexual minority adolescent boys reported a higher lifetime prevalence of steroid misuse than heterosexual boys (21 versus 4%; odds ratio, 5.8; 95% confidence interval, 4.1 to 8.2). Intermediate variables that may explain this disparity included increased depressive symptoms/suicidality, victimization, and substance use.

“This is the first known study to test and find substantial health disparities in the prevalence of anabolic-androgenic steroid misuse as a function of sexual orientation,” the authors write. “Prevention and intervention efforts are needed for sexual minority adolescent boys.”

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