• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Article

Personality, aggression, sensation seeking, and hormonal responses to challenge in Russian alpinists and special operation forces

Apalkova J., Butovskaya M., Fink B.

Male risk-taking behavior is associated with personality traits and correlates with hormone titers, notably for testosterone (T) and cortisol (C). Yet, these influences may be stronger in some individuals due to context or profession in which risk-taking occurs. We examine this possibility by investigating relationships of personality, aggression, and sensation seeking with T and C together with anthropometric measures in high risk-taking men: Russian alpinists (n = 55) and members of the Russian Special Forces (n = 33). They provided saliva samples before and after viewing a ~5 min video of aggressive male encounters and completed surveys after this task. After viewing the video, T increased in alpinists but decreased in Special Forces, and C increased in Special Forces. Alpinists scored higher than Special Forces in neuroticism and openness whereas Special Forces scored higher than alpinists in extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Verbal aggression, anger, hostility, experience seeking, disinhibition, and boredom susceptibility were higher in alpinists than in Special Forces. Our findings suggest behavioral differences in high risk-taking men, influenced by profession-related individual differences in sensation seeking and hormonal response to challenges.