Skip to main content
Strategies for salivary cortisol collection and analysis in research with children
Applied Nursing Research
  • KIrsten M. Hanrahan, University of Iowa
  • Ann Marie McCarthy, University of Iowa
  • Charmaine Kleiber, University of Iowa
  • S. Lutgendorf
  • E. Tsalikian
Document Type
Peer Reviewed
Publication Date
NLM Title Abbreviation
Appl Nurs Res
PubMed ID
DOI of Published Version
Salivary cortisol has emerged in pediatric research as an easy-to-collect, relatively inexpensive, biologic marker of stress. Cortisol is highly variable and is responsive to a wide range of factors that should be considered when incorporating this measure into research with children. Strategies for sample collection include: (1) standardizing the time for sample collection, including baseline samples; (2) using consistent collection materials and methods; (3) controlling for certain drinks, foods, medications, and diagnoses; and (4) establishing procedures and protocols. Other strategies for laboratory analyses include: (1) selecting the appropriate assay and laboratory; (2) identifying units of measure and norms; and (3) establishing quality controls. These strategies control extraneous variables and produce reliable and valid salivary cortisol results.
  • Bias (Epidemiology),
  • Child,
  • Clinical Nursing Research/methods/standards,
  • Clinical Protocols,
  • Data Collection/methods,
  • Data Interpretation,
  • Statistical,
  • Humans,
  • Hydrocortisone/analysis/secretion,
  • Parents/education,
  • Patient Education as Topic,
  • Patient Selection,
  • Pediatric Nursing,
  • Questionnaires,
  • Reference Values,
  • Reproducibility of Results,
  • Saliva/chemistry/drug effects,
  • Sensitivity and Specificity,
  • Specimen Handling/methods/nursing/standards,
  • Stress,
  • Physiological/diagnosis/metabolism,
  • Time Factors
Published Article/Book Citation
Applied Nursing Research, 19:2 (2006) pp.95-101. DOI:10.1016/j.apnr.2006.02.001.
Citation Information
KIrsten M. Hanrahan, Ann Marie McCarthy, Charmaine Kleiber, S. Lutgendorf, et al.. "Strategies for salivary cortisol collection and analysis in research with children" Applied Nursing Research Vol. 19 Iss. 2 (2006) p. 95 - 101 ISSN: 0897-1897
Available at: