To determine the characteristics of female US high school students reporting anabolic steroid use.
Cross-sectional assessment using the 2003 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention national school-based Youth Risk Behavior Survey database.
Nationally representative sample of US high schools.
Female students in grades 9 through 12 (n = 7544).
Main Outcome Measures
Participants' self-reported anabolic steroid use was compared with other health-related behaviors and with sports participation.
Prior or ongoing anabolic steroid use was reported by 5.3% of female high school students. Those adolescent girls had a marked increase in other health-compromising behaviors, including past 30-day use of alcohol (odds ratio [OR], 8.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.49-14.20]), cigarettes (OR, 5.14; 95% CI, 3.14-8.42), marijuana (OR, 7.91; 95% CI, 5.20-12.04), cocaine (OR, 10.78; 95% CI, 6.18-18.81), and diet pills (OR, 4.86; 95% CI, 2.98-7.93). They were more likely to carry a weapon (OR, 7.54; 95% CI, 4.83-11.76), have had sexual intercourse before age 13 years (OR, 2.90; 95% CI, 1.58-5.33), and have had feelings of sadness or hopelessness almost every day for at least 2 consecutive weeks (OR, 4.13; 95% CI, 2.57-7.22). They were less likely to play school-sponsored team sports (OR, 0.52; 95% CI 0.34-0.80). Steroid users participating in sports shared the same problem behaviors as steroid users not participating in team athletics.
Self-reported anabolic steroid use is not confined to adolescent girls in competitive athletics and is an indicator of adolescent girls with a marked increase in a cluster of other health-harming behaviors.