Psychiatry Investig 2016 Nov 24;13(6):637-643. Epub 2016 Nov 24.
Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, Behbahan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Behbahan, Iran.
Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the salivary testosterone levels under psychological stress and its relationship with rumination and five personality traits in medical students.
Methods: A total of 58 medical students, who wanted to participate in the final exam, were selected by simple random sampling. Two months before the exam, in the basal conditions, the NEO Inventory short form, and the Emotional Control Questionnaire (ECQ) were completed. Saliva samples were taken from students in both the basal conditions and under exam stress. Salivary testosterone was measured by ELISA. Data was analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures, paired samples t-test, Pearson correlation and stepwise regression analysis.
Results: Salivary testosterone level of men showed a significant increase under exam stress (p<0.05). However, a non-significant although substantial reduction observed in women. A significant correlation was found between extroversion (r=-0.33) and openness to experience (r=0.30) with salivary testosterone (p<0.05). Extraversion, aggression control and emotional inhibition predicted 28% of variance of salivary testosterone under stress.
Conclusion: Salivary testosterone reactivity to stress can be determined by sexual differences, personality traits, and emotional control variables which may decrease or increase stress effects on biological responses, especially the salivary testosterone.