Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2009 Nov;70(6):919-23.

Risk profile of male college athletes who use performance-enhancing substances.

Author information

Center of Alcohol Studies, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8001, USA.



There is a general perception that use of performance-enhancing substances (PESs) does not fit the standard profile of substance use. This study sought to determine whether users of PESs report high-risk patterns of alcohol and other drug use and demonstrate risk behaviors associated with problematic substance use.


Anonymous self-report questionnaires were administered to a sample of 234 male student athletes. PES users were defined as college athletes who reported past-year use of a broad array of PESs (including stimulants, hormone precursors, and nutritional supplements).


Male athlete PES users (n = 73) compared with nonusers (n = 160) reported more problematic alcohol-use behaviors and more alcohol- and drug-use-related problems. The former compared with the latter was also more likely to report past-year use of tobacco products, marijuana, cocaine, psychedelics, and prescription drugs without a prescription. In addition, PES users demonstrated higher sensation seeking, and greater coping and enhancement motivations for drinking and marijuana use than non-PES users.


Although banned PESs are not typically viewed as having a high addiction potential, male athletes who use these drugs may be more likely to participate in other problematic substance-use behaviors. Importantly, the male athletes in this study who reported PES use also participated in substance-use behaviors that can have profound negative effects on athletic performance. More research on the use of PESs in college athletes is needed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Dartmouth Journal Services Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center