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Ann Clin Psychiatry. 1994 Mar;6(1):21-5.

Violence toward women and illicit androgenic-anabolic steroid use.

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Department of Psychology, University of Nottingham, England.


Substantial evidence now suggests that increased aggression is associated with illicit use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) by athletes. Anecdotal reports claim that wives and girlfriends of the athlete sometimes become victims of physical abuse when their significant other is using these drugs. We sought to investigate these claims empirically. Twenty-three AAS user strength athletes and 14 nonuser athletes, recruited in the course of a larger study, were interviewed using the Dyadic Adjustment Scale and the Conflict Tactics Scales to assess their relationships with their significant other. AAS users were asked about their relationship during their most recent "cycle" of AAS use and their most recent AAS-free period. Nonusers were asked about their relationship in the last 3 months. AAS users reported significantly more fights, verbal aggression, and violence toward their significant others when using AAS than when not using AAS. The AAS users on-drug differed significantly from nonusers on two of these indices, but AAS users off-drug did not significantly differ from nonusers. These findings support the anecdotal evidence that wives and girlfriends of AAS users may be at risk of serious injury from users while they are on-drug. Thus, AAS use may impose risks not only to the user, but also to the women close to them.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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