Adrenal androgen and gonadal hormone levels in adolescent girls with conduct disorder

Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, United States
Psychoneuroendocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.94). 12/2006; 31(10):1245-56. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2006.09.005
Source: PubMed


There are few data on the biological correlates of female antisocial behavior. This study compared adrenal androgen and gonadal hormone levels in adolescent girls with conduct disorder (CD) to girls without any psychiatric disorder (NC). We studied 87 girls, (47 CD; 36 NC), ages 15-17 years, obtaining three blood samples, drawn 20 min apart between 8 and 9 AM in the first 72 h of the onset of menstrual flow. Plasma was assayed for testosterone, estradiol, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (DHEA-S), sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), and cortisol; area under the curve (AUC) for each of the three samples was used in the data analysis. We also calculated the Free Testosterone Index, Free Estrogen Index, Index of Hyperandrogenism and cortisol to DHEA ratio. In addition to receiving a full psychiatric interview, each girl completed a self-report questionnaire on general aggression. Main hormone analyses controlled for potentially confounding variables such as psychiatric comorbidity and race. Girls with CD had significantly lower cortisol to DHEA ratios, but did not differ from NC girls on any other hormone variable. Girls with symptoms of aggressive CD had significantly higher mean free testosterone indexes, lower SHBG levels, and lower cortisol to DHEA ratios than girls with non-aggressive CD. Girls with CD scored higher on the aggression questionnaire, but there was no association between general aggression and any hormone variable for the sample. Our data suggest that girls with CD, particularly aggressive CD, have lower cortisol to DHEA ratios, higher levels of free testosterone, and lower levels of SHBG. Clinical and research implications of these findings are discussed.

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    • "Psychiatry Research (2015), 1998; Dorn et al., 2009) and oppositional defiant disorder or conduct disorder in boys. However, a study of prepubertal boys (Constantino et al., 1993) and another study of adolescent girls (Pajer et al., 2006) found no such association. A limitation in previous studies is that many have measured total testosterone only and not in association with sex hormonebinding globulin (e.g., Dabbs and Morris, 1990; Mazur, 1995), which can be affected by, for example, liver damage in contrast to the unbound bioavailable proportion of free testosterone. "
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    ABSTRACT: Both prenatal and circulating testosterone and other androgens have been suggested to influence the individual's propensity to commit crime, but empirical evidence is limited and inconsistent. Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are both hyperandrogenic conditions but with an important difference; whereas subjects with CAH are exposed to high concentrations of androgens in utero, women with PCOS are subjected to high androgens in adulthood. Comparing these groups can therefore yield important insights of androgenic effects on behavior. In the current study, information on medical diagnoses and convicted crimes were gathered from Swedish population-based registers. The associations between diagnoses of CAH or PCOS and any crime, violent crime or sex crime were estimated with conditional logistic regression. Results showed that CAH in women and men did not predict criminality, whereas an increased risk for any crime and violent crime was found in PCOS women. Our findings indicate that female hyperandrogenism in adulthood, but not prenatal hyperandrogenism, is associated with risk for criminal behavior. Further research into hyperandrogenic conditions holds opportunities to deepen our understanding of the etiology of crime and psychopathology. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
    07/2015; 229(3). DOI:10.1016/j.psychres.2015.07.008
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    • "Psychopathic traits, however, were associated with a testosterone-cortisol interaction in men only, ánd indicated a positive relation with testosterone in individuals with high cortisol levels (Welker et al., 2014). The two studies using female samples (Denson et al., 2012; Pajer et al., 2006) yielded contrasting results as well. Although Glenn et al. (2011) and Scerbo and Kolko (1994) investigated mixed-gender samples, the large majority in these studies (88% and 92% respectively ) was male, and gender comparisons could not be made. "
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    ABSTRACT: Testosterone and cortisol have been proposed to jointly regulate aggressive behavior. However, few empirical studies actually investigated this joint relation in humans, and reported inconsistent findings. Also, samples in these studies were small and/or specific, and consisted largely of males. Therefore, in the current study testosterone and cortisol in relation to aggression were investigated in a non-clinical sample of 259 boys and girls (mean age 16.98 years, SD = 0.42, 56% boys). A positive testosterone/cortisol ratio, that is, high testosterone relative to cortisol, was found to be associated with aggressive behavior, explaining 7% of the variance. The interaction between testosterone and cortisol was not related to aggressive behavior and gender differences were not found. The ratio may reflect an imbalance leaving the individual more prone to rewarding aspects, than fearful of negative implications of aggressive behavior. Current findings indicate that this relation can be generalized to aggression in non-clinical adolescents. Aggr. Behav. 9999:XX-XX, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Aggressive Behavior 03/2015; DOI:10.1002/ab.21585 · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, testosterone differs between the sexes on the order of 2–4 times in foetal amniotic fluid, two times in pre-adolescents (Dorn et al., 2009), and about 10 times after puberty (Vermeersch et al., 2008). It seems that interests and preferences are more affected by prenatal hormone levels (e.g., Beltz et al., 2011), behavioral tendencies such as aggression more by circulating hormone levels (e.g., Pajer et al., 2006), and abilities such as mental rotation by both prenatal (e.g., Burton et al., 2005) and circulating hormone levels, at least in women (e.g., Hausmann et al., 2000). Reviews of the relationship between hormones and psychological functioning cover several hundred empirical papers that report medium to very large effect sizes (Cohen-Bendahan et al., 2005; Hines, 2010a,b). "
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    ABSTRACT: The feminist movement purports to improve conditions for women, and yet only a minority of women in modern societies self-identify as feminists. This is known as the feminist paradox. It has been suggested that feminists exhibit both physiological and psychological characteristics associated with heightened masculinization, which may predispose women for heightened competitiveness, sex-atypical behaviors, and belief in the interchangeability of sex roles. If feminist activists, i.e., those that manufacture the public image of feminism, are indeed masculinized relative to women in general, this might explain why the views and preferences of these two groups are at variance with each other. We measured the 2D:4D digit ratios (collected from both hands) and a personality trait known as dominance (measured with the Directiveness scale) in a sample of women attending a feminist conference. The sample exhibited significantly more masculine 2D:4D and higher dominance ratings than comparison samples representative of women in general, and these variables were furthermore positively correlated for both hands. The feminist paradox might thus to some extent be explained by biological differences between women in general and the activist women who formulate the feminist agenda.
    Frontiers in Psychology 09/2014; 5(1011). DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01011 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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