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The factorial structure of self-reported androgen-promoted physiological traits

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DOI: 10.4236/ns.2010.210144    6,904 Downloads   10,568 Views Citations


Androgens make major contributions to average sex differences in anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Despite having established their crucial role in sexual differentiation, much remains to be learned about how androgens coordinate their influences. The present study was undertaken to shed light on androgenic effects on the body using self-reported survey data. We analyzed the ratings provided by over 11,000 college students on the magnitude of eleven traits that previous research has shown to be influenced by testosterone or other androgens. Predictably, the average values for all eleven traits were significantly greater in males than in females. Nevertheless, when data were analyzed separately according to sex of the respondents, some of the traits failed to positively correlate with one another, suggesting that not all an-drogen-influenced traits differentiate in a simple fashion. Factor analysis of these eleven traits by sex reinforced this view by identifying four factors. In men, the primary factor loaded most heavily on: masculine body build, masculine mannerisms, overall physical strength, upper body strength, and lower body strength. The primary factor for women was limited to: upper body strength, lower body strength, and overall physical strength. In both sexes, the primary factor was interpreted as reflecting the influence of perinatal and post-pubertal testosterone exposure. The other three factors may reflect the effects of other androgens (e.g., androstenediol), or the influence of female hormones such as estradiol. Findings were discussed in terms of future use of self-reported physiological measures for assessing androgenic effects on the human body.

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Ellis, L. and Das, S. (2010) The factorial structure of self-reported androgen-promoted physiological traits. Natural Science, 2, 1164-1170. doi: 10.4236/ns.2010.210144.

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