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Br J Sports Med 47:965-969 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2012-091340
  • Original article

A retrospective 30-year follow-up study of former Swedish-elite male athletes in power sports with a past anabolic androgenic steroids use: a focus on mental health

  1. C Fahlke6
  1. 1Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health, University of Gothenburg and the Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Social Work, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Pediatrics, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  4. 4Department of Clinical Pharmacology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  5. 5Department of Endocrinology, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  6. 6Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ann-Sophie Lindqvist, Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Rågården, SU-Östra sjukhuset, S-416 85 Göteborg, Sweden; ann-sophie.lindqvist{at}vgregion.se
  • Received 14 May 2012
  • Revised 6 March 2013
  • Accepted 24 March 2013
  • Published Online First 23 April 2013

Abstract

Background The knowledge concerning the long-term effect of former anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS)-use on mental health is sparse.

Aim This study aims to investigate whether previous AAS-use affects mental health, present sociodemographic data, sport activity and substance abuse in a retrospective 30-year follow-up study of former elite athletes.

Methods Swedish male-elite power sport athletes (n=683) on the top 10 national ranking lists during any of the years 1960–1979 in wrestling, Olympic lifting, powerlifting and the throwing events in track and field answered a questionnaire.

Results At least 20% of the former athletes admitted previous AAS-use. They had more often sought professional expertise for mental problems and had used illicit drugs compared to those not having used AAS. The AAS-users also differed in former sport activity pattern compared to non AAS-users.

Conclusions It is clear that a relationship exists between use of AAS and mental-health problems. Further studies need to be done in order to clarify this relationship.

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