Journal Title

Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology

Publication Date



There has long been much interest in whether psychological stress may have inhibitory effects on ovarian hormone production and associated fecundity in women, but previous research has been inconclusive. The present study assessed whether hormone concentrations were lower on days with higher self-perceived stress than on days with lower stress within the same menstrual cycles. Results demonstrated a clear negative relationship between current day stress ratings and salivary estradiol concentrations (but not concentrations of testosterone or progesterone). This effect survived controls for potential confounding variables related to food intake, cold symptoms, exercise duration, and hours of sleep. Likewise, the effect was still present when controlling for day of the menstrual cycle, and elevated stress was associated with suppressed estradiol across broad regions of the cycle. These findings provide direct evidence for an inhibitory effect of psychological stress on ovarian hormone production, and thus recommend future research designed to further elucidate the relevant physiological mechanisms.

Author Supplied Keywords

Stress, Estradiol, Fecundity, Menstrual cycle, Reproductive supression


Stress, Psychological; Women--Psychology

Publication Information

Adaptive Human Behavior and Physiology, 2015, Volume 1, 30-40.

© 2014 Springer

Archived version is the accepted manuscript.

The final publication is available at Springer via





Document Type

Journal Article