Risk profile of male college athletes who use performance-enhancing substances

Risk profile of male college athletes who use performance-enhancing substances / Jennifer F. Buckman, David A. Yusko, Helene R. White, Robert J. Pandina

  • Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 70 (2009) 6; p. 919–923
  • PMID: 19895768
  • PMCID: PMC2776121
  • DOI: 10.15288/jsad.2009.70.919


Objective: There is a general perception that use of performance-enhancing substances (PESs) does not fit the standard profile of substance use. This study sought to determine whether users of PESs report high-risk patterns of alcohol and other drug use and demonstrate risk behaviors associated with problematic substance use.

Method: Anonymous self-report questionnaires were administered to a sample of 234 male student athletes. PES users were defined as college athletes who reported past-year use of a broad array of PESs (including stimulants, hormone precursors, and nutritional supplements).

Results: Male athlete PES users (n = 73) compared with nonusers (n = 160) reported more problematic alcohol-use behaviors and more alcohol- and drug-use-related problems. The former compared with the latter was also more likely to report past-year use of tobacco products, marijuana, cocaine, psychedelics, and prescription drugs without a prescription. In addition, PES users demonstrated higher sensation seeking, and greater coping and enhancement motivations for drinking and marijuana use than non-PES users.

Conclusions: Although banned PESs are not typically viewed as having a high addiction potential, male athletes who use these drugs may be more likely to participate in other problematic substance-use behaviors. Importantly, the male athletes in this study who reported PES use also participated in substance-use behaviors that can have profound negative effects on athletic performance. More research on the use of PESs in college athletes is needed.


Research / Study
3 January 2015
Buckman, Jennifer F.
Pandina, Robert J.
White, Helene R.
Yusko, David A.
United States of America
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Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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Substance use research
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Date generated
1 December 2021
Date of last modification
7 December 2021
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