What Do Athletes Know on the Effect of Steroids? An Exploratory Study in Italy
Despite the evidence of risks related to the use of anabolic steroids for the improvement of athletic performances, the diffusion of such drugs appears to be increasing. An exploratory study was conducted in Cagliari, Italy, to assess the level of information on this issue, to esteem the use of steroids among athletes, to measure the wellbeing of athletes and the risks related to steroid use. A sample of 192 athletes, including 142 non-agonists and 50 agonists (age range: 18 to 36) was invited to fill in a booklet including several selfreport questionnaires. The questionnaire for the assessment of the beliefs regarding the effects of anabolic steroids was developed and validated for the study, while the Self Reporting Questionnaire was used for the assessment of the mental health aspects. A general lack of information on the specific effects of steroid use on general and psychic health, as well as on sportive performances was found. Athletes were also quite unaware of the diffusion of steroids among them. Since the sportive environment seems to be the main source of information, this channel should be targeted to address the prevention and information campaigns. The use of more specific tools and the investigation of the perception of reliability of the information sources as well as the social desirability issues should be explored in future studies.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: December 1, 2015
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