Cohen, J., Collins, R., Darkes, J., & Gwartney, D. (2007). A league of their own: demographics, motivations and patterns of use of 1,955 male adult non-medical anabolic steroid users in the United States. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4, 12-26.

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This survey provided a comprehensive profile of non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid users by accessing a large sample of respondents from the United States. Male non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid users (N = 1955) were recruited from various Internet websites dedicated to resistance training activities and use of ergogenic substances, mass emails, and print media to participate in a 291-item web-based survey. The Internet provided a large and geographically diverse sample with the greatest degree of anonymity (to facilitate participation).

The majority of Ss did not initiate anabolic-androgenic steroid use during adolescence and their non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid use was not motivated by athletics. The typical user was a Caucasian, highly-educated, gainfully employed professional approximately 30 years old, earned an above-average income, was not active in organized sports, and was motivated to use by increases in skeletal muscle mass, strength, and physical attractiveness. These findings question commonly held views of the typical non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid user and the associated underlying motivations.

Implication. The focus on "cheating" athletes and at risk youth has led to ineffective policy as it relates to the predominant group of non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid users. Effective policy, prevention or intervention should address the target population(s) and their reasons for use while using their desire for responsible use and education. The focus on athletes at all levels has been based on false assumptions about who uses non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroids.

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