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J Abnorm Psychol. 2011 May;120(2):389-99. doi: 10.1037/a0021407.

Increased testosterone-to-cortisol ratio in psychopathy.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Only a few studies have examined hormones in psychopathy, and results have been mixed. It has been suggested that because hormone systems are highly interconnected, it may be important to examine multiple systems simultaneously to gain a clearer picture of how hormones work together to predispose for a certain construct. In the present study, we attempt to clarify the role of the hormones cortisol and testosterone in psychopathy by examining both hormones in a community sample of 178 adults demonstrating a wide range of psychopathy scores. Results showed that psychopathy scores were associated with an increased ratio of testosterone (baseline) to cortisol responsivity to a stressor. Psychopathy was not associated with either of these measures independently or with baseline cortisol levels. These findings suggest that these highly interconnected hormone systems may work in concert to predispose to psychopathy.

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