Examining the effect of prenatal testosterone and aggression on sporting choice and sporting longevity

Reed, Scott and Meggs, Jennifer (2017) Examining the effect of prenatal testosterone and aggression on sporting choice and sporting longevity. Personality and Individual Differences, 116. pp. 11-15. ISSN 0191-8869

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.04.022


Digit ratio (2D:4D; a putative correlate of prenatal testosterone) has been reported to be negatively associated with aggression in non-sporting and sporting populations. 2D:4D has previously been suggested to be a potential biomarker for successful competitive performance within football, rugby, athletics, skiing, and gym-based exercises. However, to date no study has attempted to investigate prenatal testosterone levels as a predictor of sporting choice. This study included a sample of both athletes and non-sports people in order to examine associations between prenatal testosterone (2D:4D), aggression, choice of sport (contact vs. non-contact), attainment level, and longevity. 200 male participants completed a self-report measure for aggression followed by providing a hand scan, which was later used to measure 2D:4D using Vernier Calipers. Results showed individuals involved in sport exhibited significantly greater levels of both prenatal testosterone (lower 2D:4D) and physical aggression compared with their non-sporting counterparts. Athletes from contact sports (rugby and football) were found to have significantly lower 2D:4D and significantly higher levels of physical aggression compared to athletes from non-contact sports (basketball, golf, weight-training, badminton). Additional findings, regarding longevity, showed those exposed to higher levels of prenatal testosterone (low 2D:4D) had been involved in sport for more years compared to those with high 2D:4D, adjusting for age. Findings may contribute to more reliable predictions of sporting selection and longevity. Future studies should look to replicate findings across a greater variety of sports using professional/elite populations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Digit ratio, Aggression, Sporting choice, Sporting longevity
Subjects: C600 Sports Science
C800 Psychology
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 11:50
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 12:04
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/32315

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