Gender differences in testosterone and cortisol response to competition

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2005 Jan;30(1):58-71. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2004.05.009.


This study examined intra-individual change in testosterone, cortisol, and hormone-behavior relationships in response to a rowing ergometer competition. Forty-six members (23 females) of a university crew team provided saliva samples before, 20- and 40-min post-competition, as well as baselines on a non-competition day. Behavioral assessments included measures of previous rowing experience, dominance, competitiveness, bonding with teammates, pre- and post-competition mental state and performance. Men's and women's endocrine responses to this competitive setting were more different than alike and varied by level of competitive experience, the specific phase of the competitive event, and the particular hormone measured. Inter-individual differences in testosterone and cortisol were differentially associated with social affiliation with teammates but rarely with dominance or competitiveness. Theoretically, the findings support the integration of features of the 'tend and befriend' model with the biosocial model of status, and suggest future research directions that may lead to clarification and refinement of those ideas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Competitive Behavior / physiology*
  • Ergometry
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Individuality
  • Male
  • Object Attachment
  • Saliva / chemistry
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Social Dominance
  • Sports / physiology
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone
  • Hydrocortisone