Effectiveness and implementation of a community-based prevention programme targeting anabolic androgenic steroid use in gyms: study protocol of a quasi-experimental control group study.
Molero Y., Gripenberg J., Bakshi A-S.
BACKGROUND: During the past decades, concerns about increased anabolic androgenic steroid (AAS) use among recreational sportspeople have been raised, yet there is a paucity of AAS prevention efforts targeting this group. Accordingly, doping prevention efforts aimed at gyms have been recommended. The overall objective of the present project is to examine a prevention programme named 100% Pure Hard Training (100% PHT), which targets AAS use among recreational sportspeople training in gyms. Specifically, the project aims to: 1) assess the prevalence of AAS, and its associations with alcohol, illicit drugs, and nutritional supplements use; 2) examine whether 100% PHT can decrease AAS use in gyms, and 3) provide insights into which factors facilitate and/or impede implementation of the programme. METHODS/DESIGN: The intervention group consists of 27 gyms, and 27 gyms serve as controls. Intervention gyms take part in 100% PHT, a community-based programme involving several components: (a) training of key stakeholders (i.e., gym staff, gym owners, local police, and municipal prevention coordinators) regarding AAS use; (b) developing an action plan for AAS prevention for each gym; (c) certification of gyms that follow 100% PHT; (d) cooperative relationship between stakeholders; (e) annual follow-up of gyms. The project consists of two studies: Study A will examine the prevalence of AAS use and the effectiveness of 100% PHT (aims 1 and 2), and data for Study A will be collected using questionnaires distributed to gym attendees at two assessment points: baseline (pre-intervention) and follow-up (post-intervention). Study B will evaluate the implementation of 100% PHT (aim 3), and semi-structured interviews with participating stakeholders will be carried out post-intervention. DISCUSSION: Knowledge gained from the present project can be used to develop community-based doping prevention efforts aimed at recreational sportspeople training in gyms. Furthermore, it can provide insights into which factors are important for successful implementation of AAS prevention programmes that target gyms. Results are also expected to yield information on the prevalence of AAS use as well as associations between the use of AAS and other licit and illicit substances, including nutritional supplements, among recreational sportspeople. TRIAL REGISTRATION: The study was registered retrospectively at isrctn.com (Identifier: ISRCTN11655041; Registration date: 3 November 2016;).