Biochemistry Hormones

The end result of HYPAC activity is cortisol release in humans, often seen in situations of prolonged stress. Ballenger et al. (1983) found that CSF cortisol correlated negatively with scales in the P-ImpUSS personality factor including the EPQ P scale, the SSS Disinhibition scale, the MMPI Hypomania scale and the number of reported previous and present sexual partners. The low levels of cortisol found in disinhibited antisocial traits in the normal population is consistent with the low levels of urinary cortisol found in habitually psychopathic and violent prisoners (Virkunen, 1985). Low levels of CSF corticotrophin are also typical in alcoholic offenders with psychopathic personality traits (Virkkunen et al., 1994). Cortisol is high in persons with anxiety states and severe depression, but lower in manic states. The low levels of cortisol related to psychopathy may indicate the lack of anxiety and stress reactivity in these personality types.

Adrenalin or norepinephrine produced in the adrenal medulla is another hormone indicative of states of stress or anxiety arousal. Low urinary levels of epinephrine in boys of 13 predicted criminal activity when they reached 18-26 years of age (Magnusson, 1987, 1996; Olweus, 1987). The low states of NE are even found in prisoners in stressful situations like awaiting a criminal trial (Lidberg, Levander, Schalling, & Lidberg, 1978).

Testosterone from blood is correlated with sensation seeking, particularly that of the experience seeking and disinhibitory types (Aluja & Torrubia, in press; Daitzman & Zuckerman, 1980), although Bogaert and Fisher (1995) and Dabbs (2000) found only nonsignificant tendencies toward association using salivary testosterone. Hypogonadal men with very low testosterone referred for complaints of erectile dysfunction were lower on sensation seeking than men with normal levels of testosterone (O'Carroll, 1984). Testosterone in young males correlates with their sexual experience, as defined by the number of sexual partners they have had (Bogaert & Fisher, 1995; Dabbs, 2000; Daitzman & Zuckerman, 1980). Other corelates of testosterone in males include assertiveness, impulsivity, and low self-control. A history of antisocial behavior, beginning in childhood, is found in men with high testosterone levels (Dabbs, 2000).

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