A new study has found that gay and bisexual teenagers are far more likely to use steroids than heterosexual teenagers. In fact, the study, which was carried out by psychologists at the Fenway Institute, shows that gay teens are six times more likely to take such drugs.
That may be a shocking finding for some people, given that steroids have traditionally (and stereotypically) been associated with ultra-masculine straight men. But the Fenway researchers, who studied more than 17,000 boys aged 14 to 18, found that a shocking 21 per cent of gay or bisexual teenage boys reported taking steroids. Only 4 per cent of straight teens said they had done the same.
The study also found that homosexual teens were more likely to become heavy users of steroids. Approximately 4 per cent of gay and bisexual boys said they took steroids 40 or more times, while just 1 per cent of straight boys reported that kind of intake.
Fenway Institute psychologist Aaron Blashill says the study shows that health professionals need to focus more attention on educating young gays about the dangers of taking steroids.
“It’s a bit sad that we saw such a large health disparity,” Blashill said. “Given the dramatic disparity … it would seem that this is a population in which greater attention is needed.”
It’s unclear why so many teens are taking steroids. Some may be looking to increase muscle growth, strength, and endurance. However, some experts speculate that gay teens may be turning to steroids in an effort to fend off bullies.
In any case, those teens who take steroids face a number of serious side effects, including heart and liver disorders, high blood pressure, and dangerous aggression.