Coinciding steroid, body image, and party drug trends among young men in the ‘Bruss’ subculture

Timothy Piatkowski, Katherine White, Leanne Hides

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

7 Downloads (Pure)


Introduction and Aims: An Australian subculture of young men—deemed ‘Brusses’—spends a great deal of time accumulating muscle mass to maintain a particular appearance (considered attractive), characterised by appearance-related identifiers, such as suntans, minimum clothing and their own terminology/slang. This study aimed to gain a more in-depth understanding of body image and/or recreational drug use in the ‘Bruss’ subculture.

Design and Methods: Participants consisted of 14 young men aged 16 to 30 years (average age 21.71 ± 2.05 years) who engaged in the following: (i) bodybuilding 3+ times per week; (ii) daily use of bodybuilding supplements; and (iii) had used steroids or other body image drugs in the past/present. Semi-structured interviews were conducted which ranged in length from 30–80 min. Interviews were recorded and then transcribed. A content analysis was conducted to identify the most common themes among the group.

Results: Results suggest young people in this subculture are faced with the competing demands of the rigidity of a strict weekly training, dieting and body image drug use versus a desire to abandon this schedule to experience illicit drug use at nightclubs and festivals.

Discussions and Conclusions: These data provide support for concurrent recreational drug use among steroid users. This phenomenon is concerning as simultaneous usage would provoke different, and possibly more dangerous, physiological reactions than those experienced by regular use of party drugs or steroids alone.

Implications for Practice or Policy: Young men experience uncomfortable feelings usually associated with the imposition of dominant actions (muscular appearance) over others but also because of their overall inability to attain/maintain the idealised masculine status.

Implications for Translational Research: As a consequence, young men usually turn to a substance in an attempt to regulate their self-esteem or self-worth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
EventAustralasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Conference 2016 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 30 Oct 20162 Nov 2016


ConferenceAustralasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleAPSAD 2016
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Coinciding steroid, body image, and party drug trends among young men in the ‘Bruss’ subculture'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this