Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology

, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 71–90 | Cite as

Pair Bonding and Testosterone in Men: Longitudinal Evidence for Trait and Dynamic Associations

  • Emily R. Dibble
  • Katherine L. Goldey
  • Sari M. van AndersEmail author
Original Article


Testosterone (T) and pair bonding in men are linked such that lower T is associated with monoamorous partnering (i.e., with one person) and high T is associated with singlehood. However, it has remained unclear whether T levels predict partnering status or vice versa. Evidence suggests time course of T measurements in relation to partnering as well as nurturant and sexual experiences may affect whether T predicts partnering or vice versa and that transitions into or out of partnerhood may have unique associations with changes in T. We examined links between salivary T levels, relationship status, and relationship status transitions in 78-first year male college students over an approximately year-long period. Using longitudinal data, our findings largely support trait associations between T and relationship status in men, i.e., that T predicts relationship status. However, our data also provide novel evidence of dynamic associations and differences in T levels at different relationship status transitions.


Testosterone Pair bonding Directionality Longitudinal Relationships 



The authors would like to acknowledge Terri L. Conley, Divya Patel, and the members of the van Anders and Conley Labs for help with data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This study was funded by faculty discretionary funds.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily R. Dibble
    • 1
  • Katherine L. Goldey
    • 2
  • Sari M. van Anders
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Psychology and Behavioral NeuroscienceSt. Edward’s UniversityAustinUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Psychology and Women’s StudiesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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