Previous research has revealed a significant bivariate relationship between anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use and reduced condom use among adolescent boys. However, to date, no known studies have explored the psychological mechanisms that may explain this relationship. Thus, the current study sought to examine two possible mediators in the association between AAS and condom use: depressive symptoms and substance use. Data were extracted from a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Participants were 3,780 U.S. high school boys who responded to self-report items assessing a number of health behaviors, including symptoms of depression, substance use, AAS use, and use of condoms during their most recent act of intercourse. Both depression and substance use were significant mediators in the relationship between AAS and condom use. However, when these effects were contrasted, the indirect effect of substance use was significantly stronger in magnitude than the effect of depression. Although AAS use was associated with sexual risk behaviors among adolescent boys, significant variance in this relationship was accounted for by elevated levels of depression and substance use, with substance use demonstrating a particularly salient pathway.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- History and Philosophy of Science