Examination Stress, Salivary Cortisol, and Academic Performance

Psychol Rep. 2003 Dec;93(3 Pt 2):1133-4. doi: 10.2466/pr0.2003.93.3f.1133.


Immediately before and after participation in a written final examination, 11 graduate students rated their self-perceived stress and provided saliva samples for cortisol assay. Students rated stress higher before the examination, and these ratings were associated with increased salivary cortisol. Students who reported higher stress and had higher cortisol levels before the examination tended to have significantly lower examination scores.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Educational Measurement*
  • Educational Status*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Hydrocortisone / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism*


  • Hydrocortisone