Testosterone and cortisol responses in male soccer players: The effect of home and away venues

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The present studies examined the influence of playing venue on psychobiological responses in male soccer players. Many studies have demonstrated the existence of a home advantage, wherein teams perform better at home than away. A recent focus has attempted to explain this advantage from a psychobiological perspective, with studies showing hormonal differences with regard to venue, game outcome, dominance and perceived stress. Two studies investigated testosterone and cortisol responses in relation to home and away venues. In an initial study of 18 male elite Premier League academy soccer players (age, 17.47, SD, 64), salivary cortisol levels were monitored in two competitive matches, both at home and away. Higher post-game cortisol levels were observed at home (p = 0.002), with the team winning all its games. In a second study involving a 12 semi-professional group of players (age, 23.17, SD, 3.8), the same post-game cortisol findings at home were replicated (p = 0.001), with this team losing all its games. No effects were observed for testosterone in either study. The results extend earlier research findings on the complex relationship which surrounds the psychobiological impact on the home advantage. The findings suggest that higher levels of stress are experienced by home players in their home matches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-220
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology & Behavior
Early online date21 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


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