GAY and bisexual teen boys in the US use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than do straight kids, researchers say.
Reasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said it's possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up "ideal'' male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies.
Overall, 21 per cent of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4 per cent of straight boys. The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use - taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8 per cent of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2 per cent of straight boys. The heaviest use - 40 or more times - was reported by 4 per cent of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1 per cent of straight teens.
The study is billed as the first to examine the problem; previous research has found similar disparities for other substance abuse.