Testosterone levels in healthy men and the relation to behavioural and physical characteristics: facts and constructs

Eur J Endocrinol. 2001 Mar;144(3):183-97. doi: 10.1530/eje.0.1440183.


This review summarises the correlations between testosterone levels and male physical appearance and behaviour. Methodological shortcomings concerning the measurement of testosterone could limit the value of these findings. In addition, testosterone measured in body fluids represents only one step in the cascade of action from production to biological effect, and could therefore provide only a limited view of the complexity of physiological events. Testosterone levels are influenced by conditions that are partly controlled or initiated by the hormone itself, but also by circumstances beyond hormonal or individual control. Different kinds of behaviour are not only subject to influence by environment, but also androgens can reinforce the particular kind of conduct and the behavioural impact can wield negative or positive feedback on testosterone secretion. Therefore, both generalisation and individualisation of study results will lead to doubtful conclusions and prejudices. Results of such studies must be viewed with caution, and over-simplification as well as over-interpretation should be avoided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology
  • Aging / physiology
  • Alopecia
  • Altitude
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Body Weight
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Depression / physiopathology
  • Diet
  • Drug Interactions
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Music
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Sex Offenses
  • Sexuality / physiology
  • Social Class
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology
  • Testosterone / analysis*
  • Testosterone / physiology*
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology
  • Voice / physiology


  • Testosterone