Competition seriousness and competition level modulate testosterone and cortisol responses in soccer players
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/3373
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/1/350
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
This study aimed to analyze the modulating effect of competition seriousness and competition level in the testosterone and cortisol responses in professional soccer player. Ninety five (95) soccer players were included in this study (professional, n = 39; semiprofessional, n = 27; amateur, n = 29) before and after training, friendly game and official games. Repeated measures ANOVA showed higher testosterone levels (F(1,89) = 134, p < 0.0001, η2p = 0.75) in professional soccer players, when compared with semiprofessional (p < 0.0001) or amateur athletes (p < 0.0001). After winning a competition game an increase in testosterone levels was observed in professionals (t = −3.456, p < 0.001), semiprofessionals (t = −4.400, p < 0.0001), and amateurs (t = −2.835, p < 0.009). In contrast, this momentary hormonal fluctuation was not observed after winning a friendly game or during a regular training day. Additionally, statistical analysis indicated that cortisol levels were lower in professional (t = −3.456, p < 0.001) and semiprofessional athletes (t = −4.400, p < 0.0001) than in amateurs (t = −2.835, p < 0.009). In soccer players a rise in testosterone was only observable when the team was faced with an actual challenge but did not support a different response between categories. Thus, the desire to achieve a goal (and keep the social status) may be one of the key reasons why testosterone levels rise promptly. Conversely, testosterone did not change after friendly games, which suggests these situations are not real goals and the players do not perceive an actual threat (in terms of dominance) more than the preparation for their next competitive game.
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