Diurnal patterns of salivary alpha-amylase and cortisol secretion in female adolescent tennis players after 16 weeks of training

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2013 Jul;38(7):1122-32. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2012.11.001. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


We examined the effects of 16 weeks of training on diurnal pattern of salivary alpha-amylase (sAA), cortisol, and the ratio of sAA over cortisol (AOC) in 12 national adolescent female tennis players. Stress and recovery were also evaluated using the Recovery-Stress-Questionnaire for Athletes-RESTQ-Sport. Data were collected after a 2-week rest (January, W0), and 4 months after W0 (W16). Subjects collected five saliva samples throughout a day. While all participants displayed the previously shown decrease after awakening in adolescents at W0, they showed a rise in the alpha-amylase awakening response and a higher alpha-amylase activity output (p<0.01) at W16 compared to W0. For the daily rhythm of cortisol we found subjects having a low overall output of salivary cortisol (p<0.01) and a blunted response to awakening at W16. Furthermore, an increase in the ratio AOC at W16, and a negative correlation between this ratio and Sport-specific recovery score. Our findings offer support for the hypothesis that increase of training load during the study period induced asymmetry activation between the two stress systems, in relation to psychological alterations and performance decrease. These results provide encouragement to continue exploring the impact of training program using a psychobiological approach among young athletes in order to prevent fatigue and preserve the health of these athletes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Physical Conditioning, Human / physiology*
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Salivary alpha-Amylases / analysis*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Tennis


  • Salivary alpha-Amylases
  • Hydrocortisone