Anabolic steroid use and body image psychopathology in men: Delineating between appearance- versus performance-driven motivations



We investigated the motivation for AAS use.

Appearance-driven AAS use is associated with greater body image psychopathology.

Appearance-motivated AAS users may be a particularly dysfunctional subgroup.




Anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) use has been robustly associated with negative body image, and eating- and muscularity-oriented psychopathology. However, with AAS being increasingly utilized for both appearance and athletic performance-related purposes, we investigated whether comorbid body image psychopathology varies as a function of motivation for usage.


Self-reported motivation for current and initial AAS use was recorded amongst 122 AAS using males, alongside measures of current disordered eating and muscle dysmorphia psychopathology.


Those reporting AAS for appearance purposes reported greater overall eating disorder psychopathology, F(2, 118) = 7.45, p = 0.001, ηp2 = 0.11, and muscle dysmorphia psychopathology, F(2, 118) = 7.22, p < 0.001, ηp2 = 0.11, than those using AAS primarily for performance purposes. Additionally, greater dietary restraint, F(2, 116) = 3.61,p =0.030, ηp2 = 0.06, functional impairment, F(2, 118) = 3.26, p = 0.042, ηp2 = 0.05, and drive for size, F(2, 118) = 10.76, p <0.001, ηp2 = 0.15, was demonstrated in those using ASS for appearance purposes.


Motivation for AAS use may be important in accounting for differential profiles of body image psychopathology amongst users. Men whose AAS use is driven primarily by appearance-related concerns may be a particularly dysfunctional subgroup.


  • Anabolic androgenic steroids
  • Eating disorders
  • Muscle dysmorphia
  • Body image
Corresponding author at: Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California St., Suite 245, San Francisco, CA, 94118.

Autor / Fonte:Stuart B Murray, Scott Griffiths, Jonathan M Mond, Joseph Kean, Aaron J Blashill Drug and Alcohol Dependence 2016 June 16