Gender Related Relationships Among Salivary Cortisol and Testosterone Hormones and Self-Esteem and Aggressiveness in University Students
Introduction: In animals, there is a strong positive relationship between testosterone and aggression. However, in humans, especially in adolescents, reports are less consistent. This study aims to investigate the gender related relationships among salivary cortisol and testosterone hormones and self-esteem and aggressiveness in university students.
Materials and Method: A total of 91 Nigerian university students were involved in the study. Participants were 23 men and 68 women who were 17-25 years of age. Salivary assay of cortisol and testosterone were done using Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay Kits. The Rosenberg Self-esteem Scale was used to screen for self-esteem. Aggression scale was used to assess the points associated with aggressiveness.
Results: Men had higher salivary cortisol, testosterone levels and aggressiveness score compared to women. There were positive correlations between salivary cortisol and salivary testosterone and between salivary testosterone and aggressiveness score in total sample. Also, there was positive correlation between salivary testosterone and aggressiveness in male subjects and there was positive correlation between salivary cortisol and salivary testosterone in female subjects.
Conclusion: Low aggressiveness in female subjects can be due to the positive correlation between cortisol and testosterone or the parallel secretion of these two hormones by adrenal cortex. It can be stated that cortisol has a moderating effect on the relationship between testosterone and aggression in especially female subjects. Also, it can be stated that cortisol inhibits the positive enhancing effect of testosterone on aggressiveness in women.