Salivary cortisol levels in students challenged with a testing stressor.

Kathleen Kenwright, Patty W. Liddell, Leonard Bloom, Audrey Zucker-Levin, Ann H. Nolen, Lawrence W. Faulkner, Rosemary E. Batorski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The objective was twofold. The focus of the study was primarily to determine if the stress of a particularly difficult exam could cause students to lose the normal diurnal variation seen in human cortisol levels and secondarily, to validate the use of a competitive enzyme immunoassay for salivary cortisol. Physical therapy students enrolled in Research Design were asked to participate in the study by collecting baseline evening and morning salivary cortisols during what was regarded as a relatively stress free time in the Fall of 2009. The following spring, the same students were asked for samples the evening before and morning of their first Kinesiology test, traditionally a stressful time. Method validation was accomplished using instrumentation owned by the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program and analysis was performed by MLS faculty and a second year MLS student. Participants were enrolled in the College of Health Sciences at the University of Tennessee in Memphis. Sample collection and testing was performed in the student laboratory of the Medical Laboratory Science Program. Physical therapy students in their first year of a three-year entry level doctorate program, DPT. This group of students did not lose their diurnal variation of cortisol. However, an unexpected finding was noted: the students' salivary cortisol specimen collected in the morning of the fall semester was significantly higher than the salivary cortisol specimen collected the morning of the test in the spring semester (p = .019). Method validation was successful demonstrating a strong correlation ( r = 0.915) when compared to the reference laboratory. Cortisol diurnal variation was not lost in the study participants, but further studies should be performed due to the low percentage of students completing the study and the lack of demographic diversity. Even though the method validation in the student laboratory setting demonstrates that it is indeed possible to obtain the same excellent correlation as is seen in a clinical setting, the student laboratory is not CLIA certified, so assays can be performed for research use only.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalClinical laboratory science : journal of the American Society for Medical Technology
Volume24
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

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Hydrocortisone
Students
Medical Laboratory Science
Testing
Physical therapy
Immunoenzyme Techniques
Assays
Research Design
Demography
Health
Enzymes
Therapeutics
Research

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Salivary cortisol levels in students challenged with a testing stressor. / Kenwright, Kathleen; Liddell, Patty W.; Bloom, Leonard; Zucker-Levin, Audrey; Nolen, Ann H.; Faulkner, Lawrence W.; Batorski, Rosemary E.

In: Clinical laboratory science : journal of the American Society for Medical Technology, Vol. 24, No. 4, 01.09.2011, p. 221-226.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kenwright, Kathleen ; Liddell, Patty W. ; Bloom, Leonard ; Zucker-Levin, Audrey ; Nolen, Ann H. ; Faulkner, Lawrence W. ; Batorski, Rosemary E. / Salivary cortisol levels in students challenged with a testing stressor. In: Clinical laboratory science : journal of the American Society for Medical Technology. 2011 ; Vol. 24, No. 4. pp. 221-226.
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