Status, Stress and Performance in Track and Field Athletes during the European Games in Baku (Azerbaijan)

Benjamin Siart, Alfred Nimmerichter, Claudia Vidotto, Bernard Wallner

This study analyzes the relationship between salivary cortisol and testosterone levels and performance in track and field athletes. In addition, we analyzed the influence of status among athletes (measured based on previous athletic achievement) on hormone levels. Nineteen members of the Austrian track and field team (eleven males, eight females, 25.9 ± 3.9 years of age, 74.9 ± 20.1 kg, and 179.3 ± 10 cm) participated in this study. Data was collected during the European Games in Baku. Athletes delivered saliva samples at various time-points including morning samples and samples directly before and after the competition. Scoring points of the International Association of Athletics Federation were used as an individual measure of relative performance. We found that performance was negatively correlated with rise in testosterone concentrations in the last 24 h prior to the competition. A similar trend was found for cortisol levels, but only when the three least competitive athletes were removed from analysis. Pre-competition cortisol levels were significantly increased compared to measurements 24 h earlier. No effect of status on cortisol or testosterone increase in the same timeframe was found. We conclude that the tournament represented a stressor and that excessive endocrine response was associated with reduced performance.

Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
External organisation(s)
Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt, Study Lab G.m.b.H.
Scientific Reports
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
106051 Behavioural biology
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