Adolescent Use of Performance Enhancing Substances

      Background: Consumer use of performance enhancing substances (PES) is a multi-billion dollar industry, fueling public health concerns regarding use in adolescents hoping to enhance athletic performance, body appearance, or fight obesity. PES may also be used for military, sexual, and intellectual performance enhancement. PES consumption can be viewed as a healthy fitness endeavor. Healthcare providers tend to be less familiar with PES than other forms of substance abuse. PES adverse effects can include violent behavior, suicide attempts, and premature deaths. Prevalence of use can be difficult to ascertain due to secrecy issues and misinterpretation of survey questions.
      Purpose: A secondary analysis of 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) data was conducted to better understand predictors of PES use. Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) served as the organizing framework guiding the analysis. The study aim was to describe the combined influence of personal, environmental, and behavioral factors on PES use (eg., steroids; methamphetamines; diet pills, powders, liquids) in US adolescents (n = 14 041).
      Methodology: SPSS version 17.0 Complex Samples module was used to examine descriptive statistics and relationships using bi-variate and logistic regression analyses of YRBS variables.
      Findings: Adolescents reporting: feeling sad/hopeless, considering suicide, perceiving being overweight, being offered illegal drugs at school, being sexually active, cigarette smoking, and alcohol use was significantly associated (p < .05) with PES use for gender groups and specific geographic regions. The highest rates of PES use were reported in the South USA. For personal, environmental, and behavioral factors combined, having considered suicide emerged as the factor most associated with PES use.
      Summary Concluding Statement: Behaviors contributing to leading causes of adolescent morbidity and mortality are interrelated, continue into adulthood, and may be preventable. Health and school professionals must be familiar with adolescent PES use in order to adequately assess and address related physical, psychological, and social issues.