Research on within-subject changes in women’s intrasexual competitiveness has generally focused on possible relationships between intrasexual competitiveness and estimates of conception risk. While this approach is useful for testing predictions about the ultimate function of changes in women’s intrasexual competitiveness, it offers little insight into the proximate mechanisms through which such changes occur. To investigate this issue, we carried out a longitudinal study of the hormonal correlates of within-subject changes in intrasexual competitiveness in a large sample of heterosexual women (N=136). Each woman provided saliva samples and completed an intrasexual competitiveness questionnaire in five weekly test sessions. Multilevel modeling of these data revealed a significant, positive within-subject effect of testosterone on intrasexual competitiveness, indicating that women reported greater intrasexual competitiveness when testosterone was high. By contrast, there were no significant effects of estradiol, progesterone, estradiol-to-progesterone ratio, or cortisol. This is the first study to demonstrate correlated changes in measured testosterone levels and women’s reported intrasexual competitiveness, implicating testosterone level in the regulation of women’s intrasexual competitiveness.
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