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Journal article 765 views 236 downloads

Can salivary testosterone and cortisol reactivity to a mid-week stress test discriminate a match outcome during international rugby union competition?

Blair T. Crewther, Neil Potts, Liam Kilduff Orcid Logo, Scott Drawer, Christian J. Cook

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport

Swansea University Author: Liam Kilduff Orcid Logo

Abstract

ObjectivesEvidence suggests that stress-induced changes in testosterone and cortisol are related to future competitive behaviours and team-sport outcomes. Therefore, we examined whether salivary testosterone and cortisol reactivity to a mid-week stress test can discriminate a match outcome in intern...

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Published in: Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport
ISSN: 14402440
Published: 2017
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa33933
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Abstract: ObjectivesEvidence suggests that stress-induced changes in testosterone and cortisol are related to future competitive behaviours and team-sport outcomes. Therefore, we examined whether salivary testosterone and cortisol reactivity to a mid-week stress test can discriminate a match outcome in international rugby union competition.DesignSingle group, quasi-experimental design with repeated measures.MethodThirty-three male rugby players completed a standardised stress test three or four days before seven international matches. Stress testing involved seven minutes of shuttle runs (2 × 20 m), dispersed across one-minute stages with increasing speeds. Salivary testosterone and cortisol were measured in the morning, along with delta changes from morning to pre-test (Morn-PreΔ) and pre-test to post-test (Pre-PostΔ). Data were compared across wins (n = 3) and losses (n = 4).ResultsThe Morn-PreΔ in cortisol increased before winning and decreased prior to losing (p < 0.001), with a large effect size difference (d = 1.6, 90% CI 1.3-1.9). Testosterone decreased significantly across the same period, irrespective of the match outcome. The Morn-PreΔ in testosterone and cortisol, plus the Pre-PostΔ in testosterone, all predicted a match outcome (p ≤ 0.01). The final model showed good diagnostic accuracy (72%) with cortisol as the main contributor.ConclusionsThe salivary testosterone and cortisol responses to mid-week testing showed an ability to discriminate a rugby match outcome over a limited number of games. The Morn-PreΔ in cortisol was the strongest diagnostic biomarker. This model may provide a unique format to assess team readiness or recovery between competitions, especially with the emergence of rapid hormonal testing.
Keywords: Sport; Behaviour; Readiness; Training; Neuroendocrine
College: College of Engineering