Self-reported Dominance in Women: Associations with Hormonal Contraceptive use, Relationship Status, and Testosterone


How to achieve dominance in a group is a recurrent challenge for individuals of many species, including humans. Previous research indicates that both relationship status and contraceptive use appear to moderate women’s testosterone levels. If testos- terone contributes to dominance, this raises the possibility for group differences in dominance between single and partnered women, and between users and non-users of hormonal contraception. Here, we examine associations between relationship status and use/non-use ofhormonal contraception and women’s self-reported social dominance. In a sample of 84 women, we replicate previous research documenting a significant positive correlation between women’s saliva testosterone levels and their self- reported dominance. Consistent with other literature, we also find that women using hormonal contraception have significantly lower testosterone than those who are regularly cycling and that partnered women have significantly lower testosterone than single women. Although we do not find a main effect of either relationship status or hormonal contraceptive use status on women’s reported levels of dominance, the interaction between these variables predicted reported dominance scores. This interac- tion remained significant when participant age and testosterone values were added to the model as covariates. We discuss these results in the context ofthe existing literature on testosterone and women’s dominance behaviour and with respect to the evolutionary benefits of social dominance in women.

Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 1(4), 449-459
Juan David Leongómez
Juan David Leongómez
Profesor Asociado

Mis intereses de investigación incluyen los procesos de selección de pareja y la comunicación vocal en humanos, con una aspiración hacia la comprensión de la musicalidad. También estoy interesado en bioacústica y psicoacústica, así como en estadística y programación en .

S. Craig Roberts
S. Craig Roberts
Profesor Titular

Profesor Titular de Etología Humana (Division of Psychology, University of Stirling, Stirling, Reino Unido), y Presidente de la International Society for Human Ethology (ISHE).