Performance-Enhancing Substance Use and Sexual Risk Behaviors among U.S. Men: Results from a Prospective Cohort Study

Kyle T. Ganson, Dylan B. Jackson, Alexander Testa, Pamela M. Murnane, Jason M. Nagata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Performance-enhancing substance (PES) use is common among young men and prior research has documented cross-sectional associations between anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS) use and sexual risk behaviors. However, this relationship remains understudied among a longitudinal cohort of young adult men, and research on prospective associations between legal PES (e.g., creatine) use and sexual risk behaviors is lacking. The current study addressed these oversights using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (N = 5,451). AAS use and legal PES use were assessed at Wave III (ages 18–26) and 10 indicators of sexual risk behavior were assessed at seven-year follow up (Wave IV; ages 24–32). Linear and logistic regression analyses were conducted adjusting for demographic and behavioral confounders. Participants who reported AAS use and legal PES use had significantly higher number of one-time sexual partners and higher odds of multiple sex partners around the same time in the past 12 months. Participants who reported AAS use had higher odds of any STI in the past 12 months. These results extend prior research on the risk behaviors and adverse effects of PES use. Health care professionals should assess for PES use among young adult men and provide guidance on healthful sexual behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)758-764
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Gender Studies
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Sociology and Political Science


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