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Criminality Among Individuals Testing Positive for the Presence of Anabolic Androgenic Steroids
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgical Sciences, Forensic Medicine.
2006 (English)In: Archives of General Psychiatry, ISSN 0003-990X, Vol. 63, no 11, 1274-1279 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

CONTEXT: Observations suggest that the use of anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) may trigger uncontrolled, violent rage. Other observations indicate that certain groups of criminals may use AAS with the intention of being capable of committing crime more efficiently. OBJECTIVE: To examine the proposed association between the use of AAS and criminality. DESIGN: A controlled retrospective cohort study of registered criminal activity among individuals tested for AAS use during the period of January 1, 1995, to December 31, 2001. SETTING: All individuals in Sweden who were tested for AAS use during this period. These individuals were referred for testing from both inpatient and outpatient clinics as well as from centers for treatment of substance abuse. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals testing positive for AAS (n=241), with those testing negative for AAS during the same period (n=1199) serving as the control group. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The ratios (expressed as relative risk [RR]) of the incidences of several categories of crime in the 2 study groups. RESULTS: The risk of having been convicted for a weapons offense or fraud was higher among individuals testing positive for AAS than among those testing negative (RR, 2.090 and 1.511, respectively; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.589-2.749 and 1.208-1.891, respectively) whereas there were no significant differences with respect to violent crimes (RR, 1.116; 95% CI, 0.981-1.269) or crimes against property (RR, 0.942; 95% CI, 0.850-1.044). When patients referred from substance abuse centers were excluded, a lower risk for crimes against property was observed for the individuals who tested positive for AAS (RR, 0.761; 95% CI, 0.649-0.893) and the risk for fraud in the 2 groups was equalized (RR, 1.117; 95% CI, 0.764-1.635). The increased risk for a weapons offense among the individuals testing positive for AAS remained virtually unchanged. CONCLUSIONS: In addition to the impulsive violent behavior previously shown to be related to AAS use, such use might also be associated with an antisocial lifestyle involving various types of criminality. However, the existence and nature of this possible association remain unclear and call for further investigation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 63, no 11, 1274-1279 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-96840DOI: 10.1001/archpsyc.63.11.1274ISI: 000241802000014PubMedID: 17088508OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-96840DiVA: diva2:171549
Available from: 2008-03-14 Created: 2008-03-14 Last updated: 2011-05-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Criminality
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Anabolic Androgenic Steroids and Criminality
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) have been associated with adverse psychiatric effects, aggression and violent behaviour. The use of them has spread to a larger subpopulation, and the use has been connected to different risk behaviours, such as use of other illicit substances and carrying a gun. Case reports tell about a connection between AAS use and violent crimes, including homicide. The aim of this thesis is to investigate the proposed connection between AAS and crime, focusing on violent crimes, and to inquire into whether this proposed connection between AAS and criminality is affected by other risk factors for criminal behaviour.

The first two studies of this thesis investigated the registered criminality of individuals testing positively for AAS, with individuals testing negatively serving as control groups. In the two last studies individuals at a clinic for substance abuse treatment (Paper III) and in a prison (Paper IV) were asked about their use of AAS, and their history was assessed using the Addiction Severity Index.

The main finding of Paper I was the development of criminal patterns over time, with a clear increase of the proportion of violent crimes and weapons offences seen only among the pure AAS users. In Paper II an increased risk for weapons offences among AAS users was reported. In Paper III an increased risk of having been prosecuted for violent crimes and of having been physically abused was seen among the AAS users. In Paper IV, the main finding was the close resemblance of users and non users.

In summary, this thesis have concluded that the violence previously reported as connected to use of AAS can, to a large extent, be accounted for by other risk factors. There seems, however, to be a connection between use of AAS and a heavy, more planned form of criminality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 47 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 318
Psychiatry, Anabolic steroids, Violence, Crime, Substance abuse, Psykiatri
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8508 (URN)978-91-554-7118-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-04-04, Hörsalen, ing. D1, Dag Hammarskjölds väg 17, Uppsala, 09:15
Available from: 2008-03-14 Created: 2008-03-14Bibliographically approved

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