Vol. 6, No. 4, 2000 Page 6

Testosterone levels predict aggression in preschool boys

Several studies link elevated testosterone levels to dysfunctional behavior in males, and to increased violence in both male and female prisoners (see related article, Crime Times, 1995, Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 2). New research from Spain indicates, moreover, that testosterone may affect aggression levels beginning early in life.

J. R. Sanchez-Martin et al. studied 28 male and 20 female preschoolers. The researchers videotaped the children playing freely, evaluated their levels of aggression in social and play situations, and measured their levels of salivary testosterone.

Analysis of the data, the researchers say, revealed a positive correlation in boys (but not girls) between testosterone levels and serious aggression in social situations, but no correlation with playful aggression. Sanchez-Ma artin and colleagues conclude, "Testosterone can be a useful biological marker for serious aggression in preschool boys."

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"Relating testosterone levels and free play social behavior in male and female preschool children," J. R. Sanchez-Martin, E. Fano, L. Ahedo, J. Cardas, P. F. Brain, and A. Azpiroz, Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 25, No. 8, November 2000, pp. . 773-783. Address: J. R. Sanchez-Martin, Area of Psychobiology, Faculty of Psychology, University of the Basque Country, Av/Tolosa, 70, 20018, San Sebastian, Spain.

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