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

This source preferred by Orlanda Harvey

Authors: Harvey, O. and Parrish, M.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33370/

Journal: Practice

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

eISSN: 1742-4909

ISSN: 0950-3153

DOI: 10.1080/09503153.2019.1653450

© 2019, © 2019 British Association of Social Workers. 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.

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Authors: Harvey, O. and Parrish, M.

http://eprints.bournemouth.ac.uk/33370/

Journal: Practice

eISSN: 1742-4909

ISSN: 0950-3153

DOI: 10.1080/09503153.2019.1653450

© 2019, © 2019 British Association of Social Workers. 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.

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