This paper lays out a research study aimed at reducing adolescent athletes’ intent to use anabolic androgenic steroids; it provides information on the trial population, methodology, outcomes, and authors’ conclusions.
The authors report on their efforts to test a team-based, educational intervention designed to reduce adolescent athletes' intent to use anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS). They performed a randomized prospective trial on 31 high school football teams in the Portland, Oregon, area. Seven weekly, 50-minute class sessions were delivered by coaches and student team leaders, addressing AAS effects, sports nutrition and strength-training alternatives to AAS use, drug refusal role play, and anti-AAS media messages. Seven weight-room sessions were taught by research staff. Parents received written information and were invited to a discussion session. Main outcome measures were collected via questionnaires administered before and after the intervention, and at nine- or 12-month follow-ups, through which, the authors assessed AAS use risk factors, knowledge and attitudes concerning AAS, sports nutrition and exercise knowledge and behaviors, and intentions to use AAS. Results indicated that experimental subjects at the long-term follow-up had increased understanding of AAS effects, greater belief in personal vulnerability to the adverse consequences of AAS, improved drug refusal skills, less belief in AAS-promoting media messages, increased belief in the team as an information source, improved perception of athletic abilities and strength-training self-efficacy, improved nutrition and exercise behaviors, and reduced intentions to use AAS. Many other beneficial program effects remained significant at the long-term follow-up. The authors conclude that this AAS prevention program enhanced healthy behaviors, reduced factors that encourage AAS use, and lowered intent to use AAS. These changes were sustained over the period of one year. Team-based interventions appear to be an effective approach to improve adolescent behaviors and reduce drug-use risk factors. Publisher Abstract Provided