Athletes who use anabolic steroids have a different type of personality than natural athletes. Users are more impulsive, less patient and, to put it more poetically, more tormented by their inner demons. That is what the Spanish psychologist Miguel Garcia-Argibay discovered.
Garcia-Argibay, associated with National University of Distance Education, determined personality traits of 212 male gym visitors aged 21-36 years using standardized questionnaires. Of the respondents, 88 used anabolics. 47 users were taking steroids when Garcia-Argibay questioned them.
The Big 5
Garcia-Argibay’s questionnaires determined, among other things, the scores on the five main dimensions of personality, which psychologists also call The Big Five. You can score high or low on those dimensions.
Neuroticism If you score high on this scale, you will suffer from negative feelings such as anxiety, anxiety, anxiety, anger, frustration, jealousy, guilt, depression or loneliness. If you score low, you will live without concerns.
Agreeableness When you score high on this scale, you take into account the feelings and wishes of other people. If you score low, you mainly act in your own interests.
Conscientiousness If you score high on this scale, you are tidy and you have your affairs in order. If you score low, you are more resistant to chaos and disorder.
Extraversion If you score high on this scale, you have a great need for social stimuli. You appreciate the company of others and like to be at the center of attention. Score your low, then you function better on yourself.
Openness When you score high on this scale, you are creative and open to new insights. If you score low, your main interests are practical.
If you want to have an idea of how you score yourself on The Big Five, then there are all kinds of tests on the web.
Garcia-Argibay found differences between steroids users and natural athletes: users scored higher on openness and neuroticity than non-users. If the users were using steroids while they were interviewed, their scores for neuroticity were even higher.
Patience and impulsivity
Garcia-Argibay also determined with questionnaires the extent to which the athletes were able to bear patience, and were able to accept that they did not immediately get what they wanted [Delaying gratification]. That capacity was greater among the non-users than the users.
On the test with which Garcia-Argibay determined impulsivity, normal individuals score between 52 and 71. Most non-users fell into that range, but most users scored higher.
Garcia-Argibay was able to calculate, correlating that especially neuroticism and impulsivity correlated with steroids use. “Identifying the predisposing factors such as those assessed in this research is essential for identifying at-risk individuals, which is a benefit in treating and preventing steroids use,” he writes.