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Testosterone Predicts Initiation of Coitus in Adolescent Females


Halpern, Carolyn Tucker; Udry, J. Richard; & Suchindran, Chirayath M. (1997). Testosterone Predicts Initiation of Coitus in Adolescent Females. Psychosomatic Medicine, 59(2), 161-171.


Objective: The purposes of this study were to demonstrate, using longitudinal data, that the pubertal rise in testosterone (T) is associated with subsequent increases in female sexual interest and activity, and to examine these relationships within the context of a social control variable.
Methods: Using data from a 2-year panel study of approximately 200 black and white postmenarcheal adolescent females, the relationships among semiannual measures of T, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), pubertal development, and self-reports of coital and noncoital sexual activity were assessed.
Results: Testosterone and changes in T were significantly related to the timing of subsequent transition to first coitus for blacks and whites. Frequency of attendance at religious services operated as a social control variable among white females, and was found to moderate T effects on sexual transition for this group.
Conclusions: These results are consistent with a biosocial model proposing T as a causal factor in female sexual activity, and suggest that biological effects are moderated by relevant social variables.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Psychosomatic Medicine


Halpern, Carolyn Tucker
Udry, J. Richard
Suchindran, Chirayath M.