It has long been known that males who cooperate amicably with their female mates in raising and nurturing offspring often have lower testosterone levels than their more aggressive and occasionally grumpy counterparts. Two anthropologists from University of Notre Dame in Indiana have suggested that not just spouse but other relatives, good friends, colleagues and neighbors can play a role too.
The study revealed that emotional relationships with not just your wife, but also with siblings, friends, neighbors and co-workers can result in lower testosterone levels as you age.
‘Emotional relationships with not just wife, but also with siblings, friends, neighbors and co-workers can result in lower testosterone levels in men, which helps them be more nurturing. The findings suggest that the social side effects of testosterone supplements in older men should be carefully studied.’
Lee T. Gettler, assistant professor of anthropology, said, "Compared to other men, fathers and married men often have lower testosterone. We think this helps them be more nurturing. We are the first to show that this also occurs with other social relationships."
Rahul C. Oka, assistant professor of anthropology, said, "Our findings suggest that the social side effects of these testosterone supplements in older men should be carefully studied."
While testosterone does go down with age, the potential social benefits that can accompany lower testosterone suggest that it is not all doom and gloom. The authors said, "We hope our findings, connecting these two areas, help stimulate new conversations about social support, biology and well-being."
The paper will appear in Hormones and Behavior.