Foetal testosterone, social relationships, and restricted interests in children

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005 Feb;46(2):198-210. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2004.00349.x.


Background: Sex-differences exist in some areas of human social behaviour. In animals, foetal testosterone (fT) plays a central role in organising the brain and in later social behaviour. fT has also been implicated in language development, eye-contact, and spatial ability in humans.

Methods: Fifty-eight children (35 male and 23 female), whose fT was analysed in amniotic fluid, were followed up at age 4. Their mothers completed the Children's Communication Checklist, a questionnaire assessing language, quality of social relationships and restricted interests.

Results: fT was negatively correlated to quality of social relationships, taking sex-differences into account. fT was also positively correlated with restricted interests in boys.

Conclusions: These findings implicate fT in both social development and attentional focus. They may also have implications for understanding the sex ratio in autism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Autistic Disorder / metabolism
  • Child Behavior*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Testosterone