The "trouble" with salivary testosterone

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2004 Nov;29(10):1229-40. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2004.02.005.


In a series of studies, we identify several specific issues that can limit the value of integrating salivary testosterone in biosocial research. Salivary testosterone measurements can be substantially influenced during the process of sample collection, are susceptible to interference effects caused by the leakage of blood (plasma) into saliva, and are sensitive to storage conditions when samples have been archived. There are gender differences in salivary testosterone levels and variance, the serum-saliva association, the relationship of salivary testosterone to age and pubertal development, and the stability of individual differences in salivary testosterone levels over time. The findings have important implications at several levels of analysis for research that aims to test biosocial models of testosterone--behavior relationships. Recommendations are provided to steer investigators around these "troubles" with salivary testosterone.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay
  • Male
  • Oral Hemorrhage / blood
  • Oral Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Sex Factors
  • Specimen Handling*
  • Testosterone / analysis*
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Toothbrushing / adverse effects


  • Testosterone