Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol are Jointly Related to Pro-Environmental Behavior in Men

Social Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1080/17470919.2015.1117987

Posted: 5 Dec 2017 Last revised: 12 Dec 2017

Date Written: December 16, 2015


Recently, cortisol has been suggested to moderate the positive relationship between testosterone and antisocial behavior. More precisely, high testosterone levels have been found to be related to aggressive or dominant behavior especially when cortisol levels were low. In the present study, we aimed to extend these findings to pro-environmental behavior as an indicator of prosocial behavior. In a first step, 147 male participants provided information on their everyday pro-environmental behavior by completing an online questionnaire on various energy-saving behaviors. In a second step, subjects provided two saliva samples for the assessment of testosterone and cortisol on two subsequent mornings after awakening. We found that testosterone was negatively related to pro-environmental behavior, but only in men with low cortisol. In conclusion, our findings provide first evidence for the joint association of testosterone and cortisol with everyday pro-environmental behavior. These results further reinforce the importance of considering interdependent hormone systems simultaneously rather than focusing on a single hormone.

Keywords: Testosterone, cortisol, pro-environmental behavior, prosocial behavior, testosterone/cortisol ratio

Suggested Citation

Sollberger, Silja and Bernauer, Thomas and Ehlert, Ulrike, Salivary Testosterone and Cortisol are Jointly Related to Pro-Environmental Behavior in Men (December 16, 2015). Social Neuroscience. DOI: 10.1080/17470919.2015.1117987. Available at SSRN:

Silja Sollberger (Contact Author)

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Thomas Bernauer

ETH Zurich ( email )

Center for Comparative and International Studies
Building IFW, office 45.1, Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich 8092, 8092
+41 44 632 6466 (Phone)
+41 44 632 1289 (Fax)


Ulrike Ehlert

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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