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Physiol Behav. 2006 Jan 30;87(1):135-43. Epub 2005 Oct 17.

Intercollegiate soccer: saliva cortisol and testosterone are elevated during competition, and testosterone is related to status and social connectedness with team mates.

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Department of Psychology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Men and women from a southern university's intercollegiate varsity soccer teams gave saliva samples before and after league matches. For the men, samples were collected for a single game ending in victory. For the women, samples were collected for two games, one of which ended in victory and the other in defeat. For both men and women, match competition substantially increased saliva cortisol (C) and testosterone (T). For women, play-related increases in saliva C and T were similar in victory and defeat. For both men and women, saliva T (but not C) was highly correlated with teammate ratings of playing abilities--one measure of status with teammates--and self-ratings of social connectedness with teammates, but the nature of the relationship was different according to sex. For men, play-related changes in T were positively correlated with these variables, but before-game T was not. For women, before-game T was positively related to each of these variables, but play-related changes in T were not. Status and social connectedness are pertinent to understanding interpersonal dynamics in most social groups, and these results--which link T and these variables in an athletic context--may have relevance for understanding social relationships in other settings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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