BOSTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Gay and bisexual teenage boys are more than five times more likely to misuse steroids than their heterosexual counterparts, U.S. researchers say.
Aaron J. Blashill and Steven A. Safren of the Department of Psychiatry at the Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the Fenway Institute in Boston compared the lifetime prevalence of anabolic-androgenic steroid misuse among sexual minority versus heterosexual adolescent boys.
Researchers analyzed questionnaires from 17,250 U.S. adolescents, of whom 635 were classified as sexual minorities.
The study, published online ahead of the March print edition of the journal Pediatrics, found 21 percent of gay and bisexual boys had used steroids at least once in their lives, compared with 4 percent of heterosexual boys. Gay and bisexual boys may be at higher risk of steroid use in part due to increased symptoms of depression, victimization, substance use and poor body image, the researchers said.
Last month, Blashill reported in the journal Psychology of Men & Masculinity boys who perceived themselves as underweight were more likely to be victims of bullying and report more depressive symptoms which, in turn, predicted steroid use.