Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Motivation and Emotion, Vol. 11, No. 3 (1978), pp. 297–318. Copyright © 1987 Plenum Publishing Corporation/Springer-Verlag B.V. Used by permission.


Three studies were conducted to test whether a catecholamine training effect results from a long-term aerobic exercise program. Study 1 showed significant increases in urinary adrenaline and noradrenaline following moderate mental stress/challenge for male aerobics subjects after a semester of training. Control groups of nonexercisers and continuously in-condition marathoners showed no comparable pre- to post semester catecholamine increases. Male and female Aerobics subjects were contrasted with nonexercisers across a semester in Study 2; the hypothesis was confirmed that postsemester increases in catecholamines occurred only following an episode of mental challenges/stress, and not following base-rate-rest conditions. Under conditions of more active challenge than in Studies 1 and 2, women subjects in Study 3 provided directional but nonsignificant support for the Study 2 findings. The results are discussed in the context of literature on the relationship of catecholamine availability during challenge/ stress to temperament and on the relationship of aerobic training to temperament. At a theoretical level, the question is discussed of increased catecholamine availability being a likely mediator in the exercise program to temperament relationship.