Anabolic-androgenic steroid administration increases self-reported aggression in healthy males : a systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies / Razieh Chegeni, Ståle Pallesen, Jim McVeigh, Dominic Sagoe. - (Psychopharmacology (2021, 20 March); p. 1-12)
- PMID: 33745011
- DOI: 10.1007/s00213-021-05818-7
Rationale: Aggression and irritability are notable psychiatric side effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use. However, no previous study has systematically reviewed and quantitatively synthesized effects reported by experimental studies on this topic.
Objective: We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effect of AAS administration on self-reported and observer-reported aggression.
Methods: Twelve RCTs comprising a total of 562 healthy males were identified through systematic searches of MEDLINE, PsycInfo, ISI Web of Science, ProQuest, Google Scholar, and the Cochrane Library.
Results: After excluding one outlier, AAS administration was associated with an increase in self-reported aggression under a random-effects model, albeit small (Hedges' g = 0.171, 95% CI: 0.029-0.312, k = 11, p = .018), and when restricting the analysis to the effect of acute AAS administration on self-reported aggression under a fixed-effect model (g = 0.291, 95% CI: 0.014-0.524, p = .014). However, the above effects were neither replicated in the analysis of observer-reported aggression nor after restricting the analysis to the effects of the administration of higher (over 500 mg) and long-term (3 days to 14 weeks) doses.
Conclusions: The present meta-analysis provides evidence of an increase, although small, in self-reported aggression in healthy males following AAS administration in RCTs. Ecologically rational RCTs are warranted to better explore the effect of AAS administration on aggression in humans.