Modeling population heterogeneity in appearance- and performance-enhancing drug (APED) use: applications of mixture modeling in 400 regular APED users.
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Appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs (APEDs) constitute a wide range of substances, including anabolic-androgenic steroids, nonsteroidal anabolics, and licit and illicit ergo/thermogenics. A great deal of heterogeneity exists in APED use patterns among weight-lifting men, and, consequently, little is known about how these patterns are related to side effect profiles or risk potential. In the current study, a sample of 400 adult men who were regular APED users completed an interactive Web-based instrument detailing information about APED use, side effects, and related indicators of risk. To explore the heterogeneity of APED use patterns, the authors subjected data on use patterns to (a) latent class analysis (LCA), (b) latent trait analysis (LTA), and (c) factor mixture analysis to determine the best model of APED use. Results indicated that a 4-class factor mixture model provided a better fit than LCA and LTA models. The authors also found that severity and latent class were uniquely associated with negative outcomes. Each of the 4 classes was associated with unique side effects, motivations, and participant use patterns. Implications for identifying pathological forms of APED use are discussed.(c) 2007 APA