The "trouble" with salivary testosterone

Douglas A. Granger, Elizabeth A. Shirtcliff, Alan Booth, Katie T. Kivlighan, Eve B. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


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effects caused by the leakage of blood (plasma) into saliva, and are sensitive to storage conditions when samples have been archived.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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1229-1240
Number of pages12
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Biosocial model
  • Blood in saliva
  • Gender differences
  • Pubertal development
  • Salivary biomarkers
  • Testosterone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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