The effects of music and visual stress on testosterone and cortisol in men and women.

OBJECTIVES: The aims of the present study were to examine sex-related differences in testosterone (T) and cortisol (C) changes with music listening and visual stress.

SETTING AND DESIGN: Saliva T and C concentrations were measured in 88 healthy college students (44 males and 44 females). These subjects were placed in one of 4 different conditions: (1) 30 min of listening to music, (2) 30 min of listening to music with visual stress (documentary film without sound including violent scenes), (3) 30 min of visual stress without music, and (4) 30 min of silence.

METHODS: All subjects provided two saliva samples, one collected before intervention and the other after intervention. T and C levels were assessed by radio immuno assay (RIA).

RESULTS: There was a significant difference between the sexes in the way music affected T. Music decreased T in males, whereas it increased T in females. As for C, no sex-related differences were found under any of the conditions studied. C decreased with music and increased under other conditions. THE MAIN FINDINGS: Our data suggests that the effects of music and stress on T differ between males and females.

CONCLUSION: Further investigation is necessary to evaluate the relationships between music and other substances, the effect of degree of preference and hormonal changes not only during music listening but also during music plays and creation.