Prevalence and social-cognitive determinants of the use of performance enhancing substances by Portuguese gymgoers

A. S. Tavares*, S. Serpa, A. Rosado, L. Horta, E. Carolino, J. Maroco, L. Calmeiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

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Background: The use of performance-enhancing substances (PES) occurs among gym goers, which is seen as a public health concern. The aim of this study is to investigate the extent of PES use and the social-cognitive determinants whichinfluence the intention to use these substances among gym goers, according to the Theory of Planned Behaviour.Methods: A convenience sample of Portuguese gym goers (n = 453; 61,3% female; 38,7% male) completed an anonymous webbased survey about beliefs, attitudes, social influences and intentions towards use of PES as well as self-reported PESuse. A two-step approach to maximum likelihood, structural equation modelling, multigroup analysis and t-test with the Welch correction for heteroskedastic variances were performed using IBM SPSS/AMOS 24.0.Results: 11.01% of the participants reported PES use. At the structural level, results support attitudes (b = 0.21; p < 0.001), beliefs (b = 0.35, p< 0.001) and subjective norms in predicting intentions to PES use in gym goers with subjective norms (b = 0.50; p <0.001) being its strongest predictor. Moreover, results showed a significant association self-reported PES use and intentions to use (b = 0.66, pp < 0.001). The predictive model was invariant across gender; however, compared to males, females believed less in the performance enhancing effects of PES, were less prone to the influence of significant others and had weaker intentions to use these substances.Conclusion: Preventive interventions should focus on influencing subjective norms, alongside to beliefs and attitudes towards PES use as these variables influence the intention to use PES in this particular population.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Nov 2020
EventVII International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS) - Online
Duration: 18 Nov 202019 Nov 2020
Conference number: 7th


ConferenceVII International Conference on Novel Psychoactive Substances (NPS)
Internet address


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