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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2005 June;57(3):129-36


language: Italian

New addictions in the third millenium: anabolic steroids as a substance of abuse

Roccella M., Paternò G., Bonanno M., Tusa F., Testa D.


Aim. The abuse of anabolic steroids is emerging as a psychosocially significant issue. In the last few years the use of the substances has shifted from professional sports to amateur sports and certain occupations (bouncers, models, etc.).In the literature, steroid users are portrayed as multidrug users who engage in dangerous and aggressive behavior towards themselves and others. This study looks into the habits, lifestyles and psychological profiles of a group of subjects who make regular use of sports centres in the city of Palermo, Italy, with the aim of establishing how the abuse of anabolic substances is associated with a specific lifestyle and particular psychosocial behaviour.
Methods. A revision of the American Massa-chussets Youth Risk Survey questionnaire (1993), adapted for the Italian context, and a personality assessment scale, The Adjective Check List (1980), were administered to a group of 71 subjects.
Results. Fifteen of these subjects admitted taking steroids with differing frequencies. Using Spearman's rho rank correlation, repeated use of anabolic steroids was found to be correlated with abuse of other types of drugs, risk behavior and a distinct personality pattern. Steroid abuse was found to be significantly correlated (r=0.35, 0.31, 0.30, 0.28, P<0.01) with illegal drug use (LSD, cocaine and heroin).
Conclusion. It is therefore imperative to develop studies and analyses to investigate more thoroughly the phenomenon and its related psychological and social context in order to lay the foundations for a targeted prevention programme, especially in countries such as Italy where this type of drug abuse is still largely unrecognised and risks degenerating into a new, full-blown social disease.

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