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Horm Behav. 1995 Sep;29(3):354-66.

Hormones, sex, and status in women.

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Department of Anthropology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City 84112, USA.


Androgens are often associated with assertive behavior; under what circumstances is this reflected in higher dominance rank? In this study of coresidential college women, androgens (total testosterone, free testosterone, and androstenedione) and estradiol were positively correlated with high self-regard in women (as measured by the degree to which subjects over-ranked themselves in a peer-ranking task) and with infrequent smiling, a behavior that has been associated with dominance in previous studies. Androgens and estradiol were also positively correlated with number of sexual partners. The behaviors engendered by these hormones are often positively correlated with high dominance rank, at least in males. In this population, however, high rank (as judged by peer assessments) was negatively correlated with androgens, particularly androstenedione, and showed a negative trend with estradiol as well. One possible interpretation of these findings is suggested by an evolutionary perspective that sees different routes to status among women who compete for resources directly and women who obtain resources through investing males.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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