Study Links Testosterone to Aggressive Behavior in Women

Article excerpt

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,

Dabbs said.

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. …