The popular usage of anabolic steroids makes necessary the study of their effects physically and psychologically. Study results indicate more than minor psychological changes in personality are found with AAS use. These effects can border on dangerousness, with demonstrations of aggressive and violent behavior, and need to be further investigated.
Cooper, Noakes, Dunne, Lambert, and Rochford (1996) studied the prevalence of abnormal personality traits found in chronic users of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS). One of the authors became a participant-observer in a group of body builders. The experimental group were twelve body builders using high doses AAS for no more than 18 months; the control group never used AAS (self-report). An interview based on the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM3-R) personality disorder criteria was conducted for each subject with additional information from friends and family. Personality traits prior to AAS use were assessed retrospectively.
Prior to the mid-1970s, illicit use of AAS mainly involved highly trained athletes. Since that time, the majority of AAS usage has included recreational and non-competitive athletes and school children. Physical effects of AAS have been studied; the psychological effects are less understood. Studies that have been performed show psychiatric effects of AAS use to include paranoid schizotypal, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, and passive-aggressive personality trait disorders (Cooper, Noakes, Dunne, Lambert, & Rochford, 1996).
Results of the current study demonstrated abnormal personality traits for AAS users. Personality traits prior to AAS use were not different from those of control subjects. It was concluded that AAS use is associated with disturbances in the personality. A weakness of the study was that the premorbid personality traits used were assessed from historical recall of the subjects and ...