Psychological factors and steroid use in bodybuilders, runners, and tae kwon do participants

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  • This study was designed to examine psychological characteristics along with epidemiological factors of steroid use among bodybuilders, runners, and tae kwon do participants in both competitive and recreational conditions. One hundred and thirty nine male athletes participated in this study which employed a 3 x 2 factorial design involving paper and pencil questionnaires. Subjects anonymously completed a series of psychological inventories measuring body-image disturbance (e.g., body size distortion and drive for bulk), drive for thinness, bulimia, as well as other psychological characteristics including self-esteem, depression, maturity fears, and perfectionism. In addition, the incidence of steroid use, and participants' attitudes toward steroids were evaluated. Results indicate bodybuilders exhibited the most liberal attitudes toward steroids, highest incidence of steroid use, lowest self-esteem, and most amount of body-image disturbance. Furthermore, bodybuilders reported significantly higher scores on perfectionism, ineffectiveness, and traditional eating disorder indices such as bulimia and drive for thinness than runners and kwon do participants. The data indicate that steroid-using bodybuilders possessed a similar psychological profile to individuals with eating disorders characterized by extreme body-image disturbance, maturity fears, feelings of ineffectiveness, and moderately low self-esteem. Moreover, it appears that both populations engage in dangerous methods of physique enhancement such as steroid use among bodybuilders, and a myriad of purging techniques among eating disordered individuals. Results were discussed in terms of comparing the psychological profiles of eating disorder patients and bodybuilders who use steroids, and the resulting physical and psychological implications.

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  • Copyright ¬© 1993 the author(s). Theses may be used for non-commercial research, educational, or related academic purposes only. Such uses include personal study, research, scholarship, and teaching. Theses may only be shared by linking to Carleton University Institutional Repository and no part may be used without proper attribution to the author. No part may be used for commercial purposes directly or indirectly via a for-profit platform; no adaptation or derivative works are permitted without consent from the copyright owner.
Date Created
  • 1993


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