Anticipatory cortisol, testosterone and psychological responses to judo competition in young men

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2003 Apr;28(3):364-75. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4530(02)00028-8.


This study compares the anticipatory hormonal and psychological responses of 17 male judo players to an official competition with the data obtained during eight resting sessions carried out at the same time of day, throughout an entire sports season. Testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) levels were determined 1 h and 30 min before competition, and mood, anxiety and expectancies were also evaluated. C levels and anxiety scores were concurrently higher before the contest than in resting conditions; however, non-significant correlations between them were found. The anticipatory T response was not significant for the whole group. However, one group of subjects did display T increases, higher C levels, and higher motivation to win scores than the other group. Furthermore, this group also obtained a better outcome. Thus, this hormonal pattern and its relationships with psychological variables suggest an adaptive psychobiological response to a competition. Results are discussed in the context that neuroendocrine response to competition is associated with cognitive appraisal.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Martial Arts / physiology*
  • Martial Arts / psychology
  • Motivation
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism*
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone