A new study in Pediatrics finds gay and bisexual adolescents are more than 5 times more likely to misuse anabolic-androgenic steroids than their heterosexual counterparts, putting them at risk of cardiovascular, endocrine and psychiatric complications.
The study, “Sexual Orientation and Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in U.S. Adolescent Boys,” will be published in the March 2014 Pediatrics and released online Feb. 4. Researchers analyzed questionnaires from 17,250 adolescents, of whom 635 were classified as sexual minorities.
They found that 21 percent of gay and bisexual boys had used steroids at least once in their lives, compared to 4 percent of heterosexual boys. Gay and bisexual boys were also more likely to be heavy users (4 percent versus 0.7 percent for heterosexual boys).
According to the study authors, gay and bisexual boys may be at higher risk of steroid use in part due to increased symptoms of:
Study authors conclude prevention and intervention efforts would benefit from focusing on this at-risk group.