A new study of female inmates in an Alabama state prison
echoes what other studies noted in men and animals: Violent and
aggressive individuals tend to have high levels of testosterone.
The study released today is a rare look into the relationship
between testosterone and criminal behavior in women, said one of
its authors, James Dabbs.
"We think of testosterone as a male sex hormone, something to
do with men and macho kind of behavior," said Dabbs, a
psychology professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta.
"In fact, it's a hormone seen in both sexes. And it seems it
has a similar effect on temperament" of women as well as men,
However, in the ongoing debate over the role testosterone
plays in violent behavior, Dabbs said he sides more with those
who feel testosterone exaggerates aggressive behavior, rather
than those who feel testosterone causes such behavior.
"It [testosterone] doesn't really make them [the inmates]
bad. It makes them more . . . energetic," Dabbs said.
Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testes of men, the
ovaries of women, and the adrenal glands of both sexes.
Women tend to have only one-tenth the amount of testosterone
as men, said Dabbs, who worked on the study with a graduate
student, Marian Hargrove.
In the study, they looked at 87 women inmates at the Tutwiler
Prison for Women, a maximum security facility in Wetumpka, Ala. …