Berenbaum SA, Resnick SM. Early androgen effects on aggression in children and adults with congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Psychoneuroendocrinology 22: 505-515

Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale 62901-6517, USA.
Psychoneuroendocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.94). 11/1997; 22(7):505-15. DOI: 10.1016/S0306-4530(97)00049-8
Source: PubMed


Males are more likely than females to show aggressive behavior across species, ages, and situations, and these differences may be partly influenced by early hormones. We studied aggression in three samples of subjects with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), who were exposed to high levels of androgen in the prenatal and early postnatal periods. Controls were siblings and first cousins similar in age. In Sample 1, adolescents and adults completed the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ), which includes an Aggression scale. In Sample 2, adolescents and adults completed the MPQ and a paper-and-pencil version of Reinisch's Aggression Inventory. In Sample 3, parents rated the aggression of children aged 3-12, using a modification of Reinisch's Inventory. In all three samples, control males had higher aggression scores than control females. Further, as predicted, females with CAH had higher aggression than control females, but the difference was significant only in adolescents and adults. These results suggest that early androgens contribute to variability in human aggression.

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    • "Studies investigating girls affected by this disorder consistently find that these girls manifest increased levels of male - typical play and decreased levels of female - typical play ( reviewed in Hines , 2011 ) . Also , CAH girls exhi - bit masculinization of performance in tasks such as spatial orienta - tion , visualization , targeting , personality , cognitive abilities and sexuality ( Berenbaum and Resnick , 1997 ; Hampson et al . , 1998 ; Hines et al . "
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    ABSTRACT: The male predominance of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is one of the best-known, and at the same time, one of the least understood characteristics of these disorders. In this paper we review genetic, epigenetic, hormonal, and environmental mechanisms underlying this male preponderance. Sex-specific effects of Y-linked genes (including SRY expression leading to testicular development), balanced and skewed X-inactivation, genes that escape X-inactivation, parent-of-origin allelic imprinting, and the hypothetical heterochromatin sink are reviewed. These mechanisms likely contribute to etiology, instead of being simply causative to ASD. Environments, both internal and external, also play important roles in ASD's etiology. Early exposure to androgenic hormones and early maternal immune activation comprise environmental factors affecting sex-specific susceptibility to ASD. The gene-environment interactions underlying ASD, suggested here, implicate early prenatal stress as being especially detrimental to boys with a vulnerable genotype.
    Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 04/2014; 35(3). DOI:10.1016/j.yfrne.2014.03.006 · 7.04 Impact Factor
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    • "Similarities between girls with CAH and controls in psychosocial adjustment were consistent with other studies finding good overall adjustment in females with CAH [24–28]. Previous studies have suggested that CAH females have higher energy and aggression levels, participation in sports, and interest in masculine physical games and behaviors [14, 15, 17, 29]. However, our findings showed that the responses of the girls with CAH were no different than those of the community and sibling controls. "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to determine the behavioral outcome in children with CAH and to identify the risk factors that may influence it. Participants (aged 6-18 years) included 29 girls and 20 boys with CAH and unaffected siblings (25 girls and 17 boys). Psychological adjustment was assessed with parent reports on the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Information about disease characteristics was obtained from medical records. Our study reveals that there was higher incidence of parent-reported problem of anxious/depressed and withdrawn/depressed behaviours, somatic complaints, social, thought, and attention problems, and rule-breaking, aggressive, internalizing, and externalizing behaviour among children with CAH compared to controls. The prevalence of internalizing behaviour problems was higher in CAH boys compared with that of controls. Psychosocial adjustment of girls with CAH was found to be similar to unaffected female controls and was within the normal population range. Family income may be associated with behavioral outcome. Glucocorticoid dose may reflect disease severity which may be associated with behavioral outcome. We conclude that internalizing behavioral problem was prevalent among boys with CAH reflecting maladaptive adjustment in coping with chronic illness. This highlighted the importance of psychological and social support for the patients and their families.
    International Journal of Endocrinology 04/2014; 2014:483718. DOI:10.1155/2014/483718 · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    • "These results suggest that it is the increase in prenatal androgen exposure associated with CAH, rather than postnatal environmental influences, that affect the developing brains of the CAH-affected females. Females with CAH have also been found to display more masculine behaviors such as aggression (Berenbaum & Resnick, 1997). These results suggest that, as in other animal species, prenatal androgen exposure in humans contributes to the masculinization of the nervous system's organization. "
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    ABSTRACT: Prenatal androgen exposure has been associated with aggressive behavior in adults. It is less clear whether this association holds for childhood externalizing behavior. This study tests the hypothesis that increased prenatal androgen exposure is associated with aggressive behavior and attention problems in childhood. The ratio of the length of the second finger digit relative to the fourth digit, which is a marker for prenatal testosterone exposure, was assessed in 239 male and female fifth grade schoolchildren from Jintan, China, together with parent and teacher ratings of aggression and attention problems. Increased aggression and attention problems were both significantly associated with a lower ratio of the length of the second finger digit relative to the fourth digit ratios in boys but not girls. The effects remained significant after controlling for early adversity. These findings are the first to establish a relationship between an indirect indicator of fetal androgen exposure and any child psychopathology in Chinese children, and the observed effect size in boys was stronger than in male adults in Western studies. The results provide limited cross-cultural support for the importance of prenatal androgen exposure in contributing to the development of externalizing behavior problems in children, and they suggest that such effects may be specific to boys who may be relatively more vulnerable to early prenatal influences.
    Development and Psychopathology 08/2012; 24(3):771-82. DOI:10.1017/S0954579412000363 · 4.89 Impact Factor
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