Identifying a typology of men who use anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS)

Renee Zahnow, Jim McVeigh, Geoff Bates, Vivian Hope, Joseph Kean, Josie Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (SciVal)


BACKGROUND: Despite recognition that the Anabolic Androgenic Steroid (AAS) using population is diverse, empirical studies to develop theories to conceptualise this variance in use have been limited.

METHODS: In this study, using cluster analysis and multinomial logistic regression, we identify typologies of people who use AAS and examine variations in motivations for AAS use across types in a sample of 611 men who use AAS.

RESULTS: The cluster analysis identified four groups in the data with different risk profiles. These groups largely reflect the ideal types of people who use AAS proposed by Christiansen et al. (2016): Cluster 1 (You Only Live Once (YOLO) type, n = 68, 11.1%) were younger and motivated by fat loss; Cluster 2 (Well-being type, n = 236, 38.6%) were concerned with getting fit; Cluster 3 (Athlete type, n = 155, 25.4%) were motivated by muscle and strength gains; Cluster 4 (Expert type, n = 152, 24.9%) were focused on specific goals (i.e. not 'getting fit').

CONCLUSION: The results of this study demonstrate the need to make information about AAS accessible to the general population and to inform health service providers about variations in motivations and associated risk behaviours. Attention should also be given to ensuring existing harm minimisation services are equipped to disseminate information about safe intra-muscular injecting and ensuring needle disposal sites are accessible to the different types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Early online date20 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2018 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


  • Adult
  • Anabolic Agents/administration & dosage
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Drug Users/psychology
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Motivation
  • Risk-Taking
  • Self Medication/psychology
  • Young Adult


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