Competition-related testosterone, cortisol, and perceived personal success in recreational women athletes

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Thirty-five women participating in one or more intramural flag-football games provided saliva samples before, immediately after, and 10 min after competition and completed an after-competition questionnaire appraising their own performance during the game. As seen in other studies of elite athletes, these recreational athletes, on average, showed significant elevations in testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) across the competition period – the “competition effect”. In winners and losers, T levels at all time points measured were positively related to athletes’ appraisals of their own individual performance. Results from this study show that the competition effect for T and C is evident in recreational women athletes and provide preliminary evidence about the relationship between cognitive appraisal and competition-related T levels.

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