Synthetic Hormone Dose in Hormonal Contraceptives Predicts Individual Differences in Personality

Lisa L. M. Welling*

Synthetic Hormone Dose in Hormonal Contraceptives Predicts Individual Differences in Personality.

The purpose of this study is to investigate whether the dose of synthetic hormones in hormonal
contraceptives is related to between-subject variation in personality. HC users reported the brand of their HC and completed the Big Five Inventory.

Women taking HCs high in synthetic estrogen scored lower on extraversion and higher on neuroticism than those taking HCs relatively low in synthetic estrogen. There were no effects of synthetic progesterone level on any of the Big Five personality traits. Results suggest that synthetic estrogen in HCs may influence women’s personality. Future research should investigate this possibility experimentally or using a pre-post design, and should investigate anatomical neural correlates.

Although the physical side effects of hormonal contraceptives are well-established, researchers have only recently begun to investigate the psychological and behavioral side effects of HC use. Currently, evidence suggests that synthetic estrogen in HCs may drive changes in women’s behavior. Women using HCs experience greater levels of jealousy and higher use of
mate retention tactics than other women.

Participants reported their sex, age, ethnicity, relationship status, the brand of HC they use, their use of other hormonal supplements, and the date their last child was born . No participants reported any use of other hormone supplements within the last 3 months and none had given birth within the last 6 months. Next, participants completed the Big Five Inventory 44-item personality inventory. There were no equivalent effects of synthetic estrogen level on neuroticism when controlling for extraversion, indicating that extraversion may moderate the effects of synthetic estrogen on neuroticism.

Soc Behav Res Pract Open J
. 2016; 1(1): 13-16. doi: 10.17140/SBRPOJ-1-103