Sex steroids and human behavior: implications for developmental psychopathology. Academic Article uri icon


  • In a variety of mammalian species, prenatal androgens organize brain structures and functions that are later activated by steroid hormones in postnatal life. In humans, studies of individuals with typical and atypical development suggest that sex differences in reproductive and nonreproductive behavior derive in part from similar prenatal and postnatal steroid effects on brain development. This paper provides a summary of research investigating hormonal influences on human behavior and describes how sex differences in the prevalences and natural histories of developmental psychopathologies may be consistent with these steroid effects. An association between patterns of sexual differentiation and specific forms of psychopathology suggests novel avenues for assessing the effects of sex steroids on brain structure and function, which may in turn improve our understanding of typical and atypical development in women and men.

published proceedings

  • CNS Spectr

author list (cited authors)

  • Alexander, G. M., & Peterson, B. S

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Alexander, GM||Peterson, BS

publication date

  • January 2001