Ninety-seven percent of the American public believes that negative health effects exist from using steroids, yet only 19 percent believe that steroid use is a big problem among high school students, according to a national study announced in New York City last week.
“The American Public’s Perception of Illegal Steroid Use,” a national survey developed by the Center for Social Development and Education and the Center for Survey Research at the University of Massachusetts Boston, is the most comprehensive opinion survey to date, assessing the American public’s knowledge, perceptions and beliefs about the use of performance-enhancing drugs among adolescents, according to a media release.
The survey was commissioned by the Taylor Hooton Foundation, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society to provide a foundation for a national dialogue about the misconceptions of steroid use and to show the need for national education on the impact of harmful performance-enhancing drugs in communities across the country.
“There is a clear disconnect between what the public knows and believes about steroids and their perceptions of it as a problem or lack thereof among adolescents,” Dr. Gary Siperstein, director for Center for Social Development and Education at UMass-Boston, said in a HOF media release. “To move forward and educate the public, this disconnect needs to be addressed. It is clear that through the lens of the public, there is much to learn about the use of performance-enhancing drugs among adolescents. If programs are to reduce steroid use among adolescents, particularly adolescents attending high school, it is clear that to obtain public support for these programs, the public needs to be educated about this problem.”
The public perceives steroid use as the lowest-rated problem among adolescents relative to other problems that adolescents may face in the form of all other prevalent risk behaviors and conditions; it is ranked even lower than eating disorders. This finding is consistent across all regions of the country, all age groups, and even among those who are interested or have participated in sports. The Gallup organization administered the study, which was developed in August.