Salivary testosterone and cortisol in rugby players: correlation with psychological overtraining items

Br J Sports Med. 2004 Jun;38(3):260-3. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2002.000254.


Background: A psychocomportemental questionnaire has been devised by the consensus group of the Société Française de Médecine du Sport to characterise and quantify, using a list of functional and psychocomportemental signs, a state of "staleness", for which no biological indicator is unanimously recognised.

Objectives: To determine the relation between this diagnostic method and two hormones (cortisol and testosterone) often used as indicators of a state of fitness or staleness.

Methods: The subjects were young rugby players. They were asked to complete the overtraining questionnaire and gave three saliva samples (at 8 am, 11 am, and 5 pm) during a rest day. Concentrations of cortisol and testosterone in the saliva were determined by radioimmunoassay.

Results: A preferential relation was found between the questionnaire score and testosterone concentration but not between the questionnaire score and cortisol concentration.

Conclusions: The questionnaire may be a useful tool for screening subjects at risk of overtraining. Testosterone concentration is influenced by tiredness, and is therefore a valid marker of tiredness.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Football* / psychology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Testosterone / analysis*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone