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J Health Soc Behav. 1999 Jun;40(2):130-40.

Testosterone and men's depression: the role of social behavior.

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  • 1Department of Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802, USA. axb24@psu.edu


Medical research suggests that testosterone has positive effects on mood (thereby reducing the chances of depression), and social science research finds testosterone to be related to antisocial behavior, risk behavior, unemployment and low paying jobs, and being unmarried--factors known to be positively related to depression. Analysis of a sample of 4,393 men finds a parabolic model best fits the data. The relationship between testosterone and depression is inverse for men with below average testosterone and direct for those with above average testosterone. The relationship disappears for those with above average testosterone when controls for antisocial and risk behaviors and the absence of protective factors such as marriage and steady employment are in the equation. The relationship is unchanged for those with below average testosterone. The results help explain the difference between medical and social research findings. Mechanisms accounting for the findings are explored.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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