Background: Previous research has suggested that there may be an association between levels of androgen hormones among female athletes, scores on competitiveness and sensation seeking (SS) and athletic performance. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between levels of androgen hormones and scores of competitiveness and sensation seeking among female athletes. In addition it analyzed the association between androgen hormones and the physical performance (VO2-max) among the female athletes.
Methods: The study was a cross-sectional study of 72 female athletes from different sports in the middle part of Norway, between the age 18 and 38. The 13 items for the competitiveness scores from the Sport Orientation Questionnaire (SOQ), and the 40 items from the Sensation Seeking Score (SSS) were used to disclose the psychological traits of the females. A maximal oxygen uptake (VO2-max) test was used to establish the athlete’s physical capacity. For measurements of circulating androgen hormones (CAH), fasting serum samples were collected of the hormones free testosterone index (FTI) and 3-alfa-diol glucoronid (ADG). The athletes were analyzed all together and divided into three major sports groups (team sport, endurance and strength and technique). Statistics used were descriptive, linear regression, Pearson correlation test and independent t-test. P-values <0.05 were considered significant.
Results: There was a statistical significant association between the androgen metabolite ADG and the experience seeking scale of SS among all the athletes. When dividing the athletes in to the three sports group, there was an association between VO2-max and the androgen metabolite ADG among the team sport group, and between FTI and VO2-max in the endurance group. In the endurance group there was an association between FTI and competitiveness. There was also an association between VO2-max and BMI.
Conclusion: There may be an association between levels of CAH and to want to try new experiences, like sports. There may therefore be an association between CAH and some types of sports at a certain level of VO2-max. Also, there may be an association between CAH and competitiveness among endurance athletes. Further research on female athletes at higher levels in more homogenous groups, is suggested to get a better understanding of female athletes, physiological traits and hormones.
Keywords: Female athletes, competitiveness, sensation seeking (SS), circulating androgen hormones (CAH), maximum oxygen consumption (VO2-max).