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Troubled social background of male anabolic-androgenic steroid abusers in treatment.

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Department of Clinical Medicine, Psychiatric Research Centre, Orebro University, Sweden.



The aim of this study was to investigate the social background and current social situation of male abusers of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS).


We compared thirty-four AAS-abusing patients from an Addiction Centre (AC) with two groups, 18 users and 259 non-users of AAS from a public gym in Orebro, Sweden. The study is based on semi-structured interviews and questionnaires.


Histories of a troubled childhood as well as current social disadvantage were both more frequent among the AAS users. Users also reported poor relationships with their parents and almost half of them had experienced physical or mental abuse. The AC group's experiences from school were mostly negative, and included concentration problems, boredom and learning difficulties. Their current circumstance included abuse of other drugs, battering of spouses and other criminality such as assault, illegal possession of weapons and theft.


In conclusion, this study shows that abusers of AAS often have a troubled social background. This underlines the importance of making a thorough social assessment as a part of the treatment programme. The results of the study may help in directing appropriate questions relevant to the abuse of AAS.

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