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The Association between Athleticism, Prenatal Testosterone, and Finger Length

Moffit, Dani M; Swanik, C Buz

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 4 - pp 1085-1088
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d4d409
Original Research

Moffit, DM and Swank, CB. The association between athleticism, prenatal testosterone, and finger length. J Strength Cond Res 25(4): 1085-1088, 2011-Research suggests that prenatal levels of testosterone are related to finger length development and traits beneficial to athletic skill, such as power, endurance, visual-spatial skills, or sensation seeking and dominance behavior. In men, the second digit to fourth digit ratio (2D:4D) has been shown to correlate with success in competitive levels of football (soccer), which suggests that the 2D:4D ratio is a possible marker for level of attainment in sport. The purpose of this study was to explore the 2D:4D relationships between sports and make comparisons with nonathletes. A multiple group posttest-only design was used. Participants included 138 male volunteers with 92 intercollegiate National Collegiate Athletic Association division I athletes and 46 nonathletes who were not varsity athletes. The independent variable was group (crew, football, gymnastics, soccer, nonathlete). The dependent variable was the 2D:4D ratio. No significant differences were noted between the athletes and nonathletes (p = 0.182). Significant differences were found among the different groups (p = 0.000), with significantly lower ratios between football and crew (p = 0.000), football and nonathletes (p = 0.030), and gymnastics and crew (p = 0.001). This research provides a stronger level of evidence that the 2D:4D ratio may help indicate potential athleticism or competition-level achievement, but the external validity may be limited to only specific sports.

1Department of Kinesiology, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and 2Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, University of Deleware, Newark, Deleware

Address correspondence to Dr. Dani M. Moffit, moffitd@temple.edu.

© 2011 National Strength and Conditioning Association