Perceptions of benefits and losses associated with the use and discontinuance of anabolic-androgenic steroids among male bodybuilders

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Abstract

Research has shown the mesomorphic physique to be the most preferred body type among males. Specifically, the hypermesomorphic physique, which displays extreme muscularity and definition, is the most desired (Tucker, 1983). Mishkind, Rodin, Silberstein, and Streigel-Moore (1987) concluded that multiple reasons exist for this preference, most notably the intimate ties that exist among societal conceptions of masculinity, the male sex role, and the mesomorphic physique. Bodybuilding has been perceived as an avenue by which males attempt to develop the preferred mesomorphic physique, and, at times, anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) have been ingested as a means for further development. This study entailed in-depth interviews with 10 male bodybuilders, all of whom had taken, or were currently taking, AAS. This article presents the findings of the interviews concerning the perceived benefits of and psychological dependency on AAS. The data, particularly responses concerning psychological dependency, are noted within Mishkind et al.'s framework as a mechanism to avoid loss of muscle strength, muscle mass, and masculinity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Loss and Trauma
Volume4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1999

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