Testosterone, Cortisol, and Criminal Behavior in Men and Women

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Only two studies to date have considered the joint effects of testosterone and cortisol on direct measures of criminal behavior. The current study extends this earlier work by incorporating the direct and interactive effects of baseline hormone measures and hormone change scores in response to social stress. The current study also extends prior work by considering distinct measures of different criminal behavior types and sex differences. Analyses based on a large sample of undergraduates indicated that testosterone had a positive and statistically significant association with impulsive and violent criminal behavior. The interaction of testosterone with cortisol had a negative association with income generating crime. Simple slopes analyses of this interaction indicated testosterone had a positive association with income generating crime when cortisol was low (−1 SD). Associations between hormones and criminal behavior were not moderated by sex.