Salivary cortisol in psychobiological research: an overview

Neuropsychobiology. 1989;22(3):150-69. doi: 10.1159/000118611.


The measurement of cortisol in saliva provides the basic scientist as well as the clinician with a reliable tool for investigations of hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis activity. Since saliva samples can be obtained stress-free and independent from medically trained personnel this method may be well suited for use in psychobiological studies. This overview intends to give a comprehensive introduction to the method of salivary cortisol assessment and to briefly discuss its application in different scientific disciplines.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Circadian Rhythm / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / analysis*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiopathology
  • Reference Values
  • Saliva / chemistry*


  • Hydrocortisone