Testosterone, cortisol, and women's competition

Helen S. Bateup, Alan Booth, Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff, Douglas A. Granger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

176 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Hormone (testosterone, cortisol)-behavior relationships have been extensively studied among male competitors, and far less so among female competitors. To address this gap, we studied members of a nationally recognized college women's rugby team. Seventeen players (ages 18-22 years) provided saliva samples 24 h before, 20 min prior to, and immediately after five league matches. Subjects self-reported aggressiveness, team bonding, pregame mental state, postgame performance evaluation, and whether the opponent was more or less challenging than expected. Results revealed that both testosterone and cortisol levels increased in anticipation of the matches. Postgame levels of both hormones were higher than pregame levels. The pregame rise in testosterone was associated with team bonding, aggressiveness, and being focused, but was unrelated to perceptions of the opponent's skill. Testosterone change during the game was unrelated to winning or losing, evaluations of personal performance, or perceptions of the opponent's threat. Game changes in cortisol were positively related to player evaluations of whether the opponent was more of a challenge than expected, and negatively related to losing. These results are compared with hormone-behavior patterns found among male competitors and are interpreted within a recent theory of sex differences in response to challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-192
Number of pages12
JournalEvolution and Human Behavior
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

testosterone
cortisol
Hydrocortisone
Testosterone
aggressiveness
attachment behavior
hormone
hormones
Hormones
aggression
match
evaluation
behavior pattern
saliva
performance
Football
Saliva
gender differences
Sex Characteristics
threat

Keywords

  • Competition and hormones
  • Cortisol
  • Testosterone
  • Women competitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Development

Cite this

Bateup, H. S., Booth, A., Shirtcliff, E. A., & Granger, D. A. (2002). Testosterone, cortisol, and women's competition. Evolution and Human Behavior, 23(3), 181-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(01)00100-3

Testosterone, cortisol, and women's competition. / Bateup, Helen S.; Booth, Alan; Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A.; Granger, Douglas A.

In: Evolution and Human Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 3, 2002, p. 181-192.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Bateup, HS, Booth, A, Shirtcliff, EA & Granger, DA 2002, 'Testosterone, cortisol, and women's competition', Evolution and Human Behavior, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 181-192. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1090-5138(01)00100-3
Bateup, Helen S. ; Booth, Alan ; Shirtcliff, Elizabeth A. ; Granger, Douglas A. / Testosterone, cortisol, and women's competition. In: Evolution and Human Behavior. 2002 ; Vol. 23, No. 3. pp. 181-192.
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