22 research outputs found

    Male anabolic androgenic steroid-users: a mixed-methods study. The voice of the AAS-user.

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    Anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) are increasingly used by the general population, particularly male gym users, for their muscle-building and aesthetic effects. AAS can have a detrimental impact on physical and emotional wellbeing. The motivations for use are wide ranging and include a desire for a muscular physique. There is a shortage of research exploring AAS-users’ experiences, their perceptions of risks of AAS or how the complexity of motivations for use effects support needs. The mixed-methods scoping review in this integrated thesis revealed (a) AAS-users access a range of sources to obtain information on how to inject, side-effects, risk management and types of substance; and (b) a paucity of data on the types of information and support users want. This shaped the questions for the primary research namely to explore the experiences of recreational AAS-users and ascertain their needs and wants on information and support. A two-phase process via quantitative questionnaires and semi-structured interviews was followed. Descriptive statistical analysis was used for quantitative data and thematic analysis for the qualitative data. This study found complex and interlinked motivations for AAS use by participants that could change over time including the use of unprescribed AAS as Testosterone Replacement Therapy. This study suggests that the internalisation of socially constructed ideal perceptions of masculinity could be a reason for using AAS and may impact on users’ health seeking behaviours. Most AAS-users were seeking evidence-based information but did not seek professional support due to stigma and lack of faith in the knowledge of professionals. It is recommended that a person-centred approach should be taken to supporting AAS-users. Professionals should explore with users their history of AAS use and their concerns, so that support can be tailored to individual needs. One-to-one and group support should include discussions around beliefs linked to masculinity and negative self-talk. Services for AAS-users should be separated from those serving other illicit drug users

    Social Work Implications of Anabolic–Androgenic Steroid Use, Particularly Among Young People: A Literature Review

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    Non-prescribed anabolic–androgenic steroid (AAS) use has increased during recent years. Often used ‘recreationally’ and for aesthetic purposes, AAS are easily purchased over the internet and informally from gym-using peers. Social workers have a responsibility to support service users, to identify and manage risks and AAS use raises some noteworthy challenges to social work practice. This literature review aims to identify AAS-related knowledge social workers might require and consider its implications for social work practice. Although some of the evidence is inconclusive, particularly in relation to causal relationships between AAS use and behavioural change or polysubstance use implications, there are consequences that could cause significant short- and long-term harm to physical and/or psychological health to young people. Social workers should consider the possibility that a young person may be vulnerable to using AAS without being fully aware of the risks, as this could result in harm reduction and enhanced outcomes among this easily overlooked population. While rarely addressed in the existing social work literature, the risks associated with AAS usage, particularly in young people, necessitate more awareness and attention from social work practitioners particularly in today’s image conscious society

    Postgraduate researchers ’ experiences of accessing participants via gatekeepers : ‘ wading through treacle !’

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    ABSTRACT Research exploring both the general experiences of postgraduate research students when interacting with gatekeepers and how this affects their progress and emotional resilience is currently lacking. Consequently, this study aims to explore the experience of postgraduate researchers interact- ing with gatekeepers to develop an understanding of both the challenges and enablers. A mixed-methods online questionnaire was distributed inter- nationally to postgraduate researchers. N = 66 questionnaires were returned. Analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data highlighted that postgraduate researchers face a range of challenges when using gate- keepers to access participants for studies, and that there is a negative emotional impact arising when challenges are faced. Thematic analysis revealed six themes: Access to participants; Relationships; Perceptions of research; Context for gatekeepers, Emotional impact, and Mechanisms to address challenges. The study has highlighted a gap in the literature con- cerning the number of students who experience issues with gatekeepers, and how this affects their ability to undertake their research, their emotional resilience, and their access to support. Postgraduate researchers utilised a number of supportive mechanisms including seeking advice, reflective practice, and persistence to help them overcome challenges faced. Guidance for researchers, supervisors and universities is proposed

    Using a range of communication tools to interview a hard-to-reach population

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    Online communication tools are increasingly being used by qualitative researchers; hence it is timely to reflect on the differences when using a broad range of data collection methods. Using a case study with a potentially hard-to-reach substance-using population who are often distrustful of researchers, this article explores the use of a variety of different platforms for interviews. It highlights both the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Face-to-face interviews and online videos offer more opportunity to build rapport, but lack anonymity. Live Webchat and audio-only interviews offer a high level of anonymity, but both may incur a loss of non-verbal communication, and in the Webchat a potential loss of personal narrative. This article is intended for sociologists who wish to broaden their methods for conducting research interviews

    Support for non-prescribed Anabolic Androgenic Steroids users: A qualitative exploration of their needs

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    Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) are used by the general population (particularly male gym users) for their anabolic effects (increased muscle mass). Few studies have sought AAS users’ views on what information and support they need. This study focuses on ideal support wanted by people who use AAS. Interviews were conducted with 23 self-declared adult AAS users. Using thematic analysis, six themes were identified aligned to support and information wanted by AAS users: (1) specific types of information wanted: managing risks, (2) mechanisms for communication of advice, (3) specific types of support wanted: medical and emotional, (4) stigmatisation of people who use AAS, (5) paying for support services, (6) legality of AAS use. Integral to the support was that it should be considered within the context of use and identity. Support needs to be specific, targeted towards AAS users ensuring that balanced and evidenced-based advice is given. Sensitivity to AAS users’ perceptions of their drug-use and the stigma of being classified in the same sub-set as other illicit drug users is relevant to facilitating successful engagement. Furthermore, there is a need to consider the emotional issues surrounding AAS use and how to meet these needs

    Country Report: United Kingdom. The Other Side of the Story: Perpetrators in Change

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