This study investigated societal attitudes toward non-medical anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use. One hundred and seventy-eight (n=178) health club patrons were presented two vignettes featuring an athlete or recreational weightlifter taking AAS to improve either performance or looks. After reading the vignette participants responded to 3 open-ended questions and a 10-item questionnaire about the use of AAS. A cross-tabulation analysis using Cramer’s V and Multivariate Analysis of Variance were used to examine the extent to which the independent variable of “scenario” had an effect on each of the dependent variables. Analysis revealed more harsh feelings toward the athlete using AAS for performance versus the non-athlete using AAS for looks. Significant differences were found between the vignette scenarios regarding the two different types of AAS users. Based on the results of this research it appears that individuals that take AAS for the purpose of improving their appearance are viewed less harshly than athletes taking AAS to improve sports performance. Professionals in the field need to recognize that societal pressure may not be a good deterrent against AAS use and should instead encourage scientifically based nutrition, dietary supplement and strength training programs to help their clients or patients achieve their goals.
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