Hormone Driven Personality Characteristics



Friedman and Schustack (2012) indicate there is hormone research indicating a connection between prenatal hormones and pubescent hormones related to certain personality characteristics. Evidence for genetic/hormonal influences on personality resulting from prenatal abnormalities is hormone production include the example of Turner’s Syndrome whereby a child is born with only the X (female) chromosome, but without a correspondence X or Y chromosome to make up the other half of the genetic combination. During puberty these children will not develop secondary sexual characteristic without supplemental hormone treatments. Additionally, research indicates that these girls “engage in timid and feminine behavior and may display weaker mathematical and spatial abilities” (Friedman & Schustack, 2012, p. 357).

There is also evidence for hormone influences on personality during puberty with testosterone often being linked to aggression, dominance, and even achievement (Friedman & Schustack, 2012). Additional research indicates that testosterone during adolescence affects both genders relatively. In fact, “the personality of girls responds much more for each unit addition of T than does the personality of boys” (Udry & Talbert, 1988, p. 294). Despite this significant influence of testosterone during puberty on female’s personality, it is not surprising that follicular progesterone levels in females were also highly correlated in female responses (Udry & Talbert, 1988). Progesterone is directly related to the beginnings of female reproductive capabilities, and the beginning of menses.

Advances in biological saliva collection procedures have paved the way for empirical testing of theories related to testosterone (T) being a true influence on personality. Using saliva assays and self-report measures, researchers were able to determine that “test-retest reliability for T was high and comparable to the short-term stability of questionnaire-based and implicitly assessed personality assessment instruments” (Sellers, Mehl, & Josephs, 2007, p. 126). Both convergent and discriminant validity were also evidenced by the results in this research.


Friedman, H. S., & Schustack, M. W. (2012). Personality: Classic theories and modern research (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Sellers, J. G., Mehl, M. R., & Josephs, R. A. (2007). Hormones and personality: Testosterone as a marker of individual differences. Journal of Research in Personality, 41(1), 126-138. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2006.02.004

Udry, J. R., & Talbert, L. M. (1988). Sex hormone effects on personality at puberty. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(2), 291-295. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2964521



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