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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Salivary hormone concentrations in mothers and fathers becoming parents are not correlated.

A time- and date-matched set of saliva samples (N = 229) from nine couples first expecting, and then caring for, their first child were used to test whether hormone changes in the father could be predicted by the hormonal status of the mother. Testosterone, cortisol, and estradiol were quantified from saliva. Neither testosterone nor estradiol concentration was correlated within couples before or after the birth, although there was a positive correlation for cortisol concentration in the mother and father before the birth. As the hormone that might be influenced by chemical signals, that already played a similar role in men and women, and that had been empirically linked to paternal behavior, cortisol concentration was also compared with sex steroid concentrations. The mother's cortisol concentration was positively correlated to the father's testosterone concentration, and the mother's testosterone concentration was positively correlated with the father's cortisol concentration. However, both effects were similar in magnitude to the cortisol to cortisol correlation, and all could parsimoniously be explained by similar responses to a shared environment. Thus, this analysis rejects parallels in peripheral hormone concentrations of estradiol, testosterone, and cortisol in mothers and fathers. However, the available data were not able to test or reject hypotheses about local neuroendocrine homology, nor to control for masking effects of other hormonal demands on men and women, nor to determine the relative importance of shared environment versus mother-father signaling.[1]


  1. Salivary hormone concentrations in mothers and fathers becoming parents are not correlated. Berg, S.J., Wynne-Edwards, K.E. Hormones and behavior. (2002) [Pubmed]
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