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doi: 10.3810/PSM.2021.04.1690
The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Volume 37: No.1
Body Image, Disordered Eating, and Anabolic Steroids in Male Bodybuilders:
Current Versus Former Users
Gary S. Goldfield, PhD, CPsych And D. Blake Woodside, MD, FRCPC
Abstract: Purpose To examine body image, disordered eating, and psychological characteristics typically observed in people with eating disorders in current, former, and nonsteroid-using male bodybuilders. Methods Fifty bodybuilders recruited from local gymnasia completed anonymous questionnaires designed to assess eating attitudes, body image, weight and shape preoccupation, and general psychological characteristics. Ten subjects were classified as currently using anabolic-androgenic steroids, 12 were former users, and 28 had never used steroids. Results Compared with former users and non-users, current steroid users reported higher scores on weight and shape preoccupation, body dissatisfaction, drive for increased muscle tone, depression, ineffectiveness, perfectionism, and interpersonal distrust. No differences emerged between former users and non-users. Conclusions Current but not previous anabolic-androgenic steroids use is associated with considerable body image disturbance, eating-related psychopathology, and poorer psychological adjustment. Theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

Keywords: anabolic-androgenic steroids; body image; disordered eating

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