Study: Gay Male Teenagers Use Steroids Six Times More Than Straight Peers

Boston’s Fenway Institute, which provides health services to the LGBT community, has conducted a study on steroid use among gay teenagers. Via the Associated Press:

Gay and bisexual teen boys use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than do straight kids, a “dramatic disparity” that points up a need to reach out to this group, researchers say. Reasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said it’s possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up “ideal” male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies. Overall, 21 percent of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4 percent of straight boys. The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use — taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8 percent of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2 percent of straight boys. The heaviest use — 40 or more times — was reported by 4 percent of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1 percent of straight teens. The study is billed as the first to examine the problem; previous research has found similar disparities for other substance abuse.

The study has been published in Pediatrics, where you can read the abstract without a subscription.