The role of trauma in the hormonal interplay of cortisol, testosterone, and oxytocin in adolescent aggression
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SourcePsychoneuroendocrinology, 88, (2018), pp. 24-37
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Although numerous studies have examined the neuroendocrinology of aggression, the findings are mixed and focused on cortisol and testosterone. We argue that past findings remain inconclusive partly because the key roles of oxytocin and trauma have not been systematically integrated yet. Oxytocin is associated with social behavior and interacts with cortisol and testosterone, whereas trauma is a crucial risk factor of aggression that strongly affects hormonal activity. In this review, we investigate the role of trauma in the hormonal interplay of cortisol, testosterone, and oxytocin in aggression during adolescence. We first discuss how these hormones interact with each other and how trauma influences these interactions and then we propose a model that highlights the role of trauma in the hormonal interplay in aggression. We suggest that the timing of trauma has a distinct effect on hormonal activity and it should be integrated into any comprehensive model. Current trauma is linked to different levels of oxytocin, cortisol, testosterone, and testosterone/cortisol ratio than childhood trauma, but this distinction is also influenced by gender and type of aggression. We conclude that in order to better understand the neuroendocrinology of aggression, it is crucial to incorporate the investigation of oxytocin and trauma in future research.
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