Comparison of baseline free testosterone and cortisol concentrations between elite and non-elite female athletes

C.J. Cook, Blair T Crewther, A.A. Smith

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Objectives: To compare the baseline free testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) concentrations of elite and non-elite female athletes. Methods: Eighteen females from different sports (track and field, netball, cycling, swimming, bob skeleton) were monitored over a 12-week period. Baseline measures of salivary free T and C concentrations were taken weekly prior to any training. The elites (n = 9) and non-elites (n = 9) were classified as international and national level competitors, respectively, with both groups matched by sport. Results: The pooled free T concentrations of the elites (87 pg/ml) were significantly higher than the non-elites (41 pg/ml) and consistently so across all weekly time points (P <0.001). Pooled free C concentrations were also greater in the elite group (2.90 ng/ml) than the non-elites (2.32 ng/ml) (P <0.01). Conclusions: The pooled baseline T and C measures were higher in elite female athletes than non-elites. Higher free T and C concentrations could indicate a greater capacity for physical performance at higher work rates, which is commensurate with the demands of elite sport. Speculatively, the T differences observed could influence female behavior and thereby help to regulate sporting potential. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-858
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Biology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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