Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Jun 29;27(3) [Epub ahead of print]
Gender-dependent differences in sensation seeking and social interaction
are correlated with saliva testosterone titre in adolescents.
Kerschbaum HH, Ruemer M, Weisshuhn S, Klimesch W.
Division of Animal Physiology, Department of Cellular Biology, University
of Salzburg, Hellbrunnerstr. 34, 5020 Salzburg, Austria.
OBJECTIVES: In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that gender -
dependent differences in novelty seeking, leadership, and sympathy might
correlate with testosterone titre. Since several studies report that the
impact of testosterone on personality traits is more visible under
emotional challenging situations, we harvested saliva testosterone upon an
anticipated stressor (academic examination) and under basal conditions.
SETTING AND DESIGN: 19 female and 23 male adolescents (17 to 19 years of
age) completed standardized questionnaires on sensation seeking, anxiety,
and social interaction. Two weeks later, they had to write an anticipated,
rigorous examination in mathematics in their school. Before and after the
examination, saliva had been harvested from each subject and testosterone
titre has been estimated. METHODS: Saliva testosterone was quantified using
a luminescence immunoassay (LIA). Each subject completed questionnaires on
sensations seeking according to Zuckerman (SSS - V), anxiety (STAI), and
social interactions. RESULTS: Both genders showed an increase in their
testosterone titre shortly after examination or announcement of test
scores. A Spearman correlation coefficient indicated a significant
correlation between testosterone titre and sensation seeking subscales in
female but not in male subjects. Analysis of social interactions revealed
that peers regarded male subjects, who had high testosterone titres, as
leaders but not as likeable individuals, whereas they regarded female
subjects, who had high testosterone titres, not as leaders but as highly
likeable individuals. CONCLUSION: Theses findings strongly suggest that
testosterone has gender specific effects on novelty seeking, dominance, and