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Challenge

Abstract

The illegal use of steroids, human growth hormone, and other performance enhancing substances by well known athletes may cause serious harm to the user. In addition, their use encourages young people to use them… Every American, not just baseball fans, ought to be shocked by that disturbing truth.” (U.S. Senator George J. Mitchell 2008)

In the United States, it has been reported that 4% to 12% of male adolescents and 0.5% to 2.9% of female adolescents have used anabolic steroids to enhance sports performance or favorably alter body size. Although medical, legal, and ethical issues related to the nonmedical use of anabolic steroids have been widely publicized, a growing number of adolescents appear to be using them for nonmedical purposes. This study examines the relationship between sports participation and steroid use among Black and White high school males using data from the Monitoring the Future Surveys: 1991-2007. Our specific aims were threefold: (1) to examine whether trends in high school male adolescent steroid usage was associated with the “steroids era” in major league baseball; (2) to compare Black-White adolescent usage patterns, and (3) to determine if participation in school sports served as a protective or risk factor for steroid use. Results indicate that adolescent male steroid use increased during the “steroids era”, White males reported higher prevalence of steroid use than Black males, and sport participation served as a protective factor, but only for Black males.

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