Vol. 3, No. 3, 1997 Page 6


In a recently published study, Terry Banks and James Dabbs, Jr., measured the salivary testosterone levels of young adult delinquents, and compared them to levels found in a group of college students.

Participants in the study included 36 students and 29 delinquents, matched for age, sex, and race. Behaviors common in the delinquent group included fighting, use of weapons, and alcohol and drug abuse. Two subjects had committed murders.

Banks and Dabbs report that delinquent subjects had higher testosterone levels than the student controls, a finding that was true for both male and female subjects. (Although testosterone is a "male" hormone, women also produce small amounts.)

The researchers also compared levels of cortisol in delinquent and student subjects. Although low levels of cortisol have been linked to delinquency, this study found that "cortisol was not related to behavior." In female subjects, however, testosterone a a a and cortisol levels were positively correlated.

Standardized tests were not used to measure the behavior of delinquents in this study, and the college students were not queried as to whether or not they had ever exhibited delinquent behavior. However, Banks and Dabbs say that their data are "consistent t t t with other findings that relate testosterone to delinquency and violence."


"Salivary testosterone and cortisol in a delinquent and violent urban subculture," Terry Banks and James M. Dabbs, Jr., Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 136, No. 1, 1996, pp. 49-56. Address: James M. Dabbs, Jr., Dept. of Psychology, Georgia State e e e University, Atlanta, GA 30303.

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