Background: Salivary cortisol has been used in various fields of science as a non-invasive biomarker of stress levels. This study offers the normative reference values of cortisol measurement for healthy young males. Findings: Salivary cortisol levels were measured in 267 healthy young males (age: 21.7 ± 1.5 years) in the early morning on two consecutive days and were analyzed by radioimmunoassay. Frequency distribution analysis was conducted with mean values of the measurements taken on the 2 days. The mean salivary cortisol level was 20.39 ± 7.74 nmol/l (median: 19.31 nmol/l). The skewness and kurtosis of the distribution of the raw data were 0.72 and 0.68, respectively. They were both improved by a square root transformation but not by a logarithmic transformation. Conclusions: The skewness of the distribution for salivary cortisol measured in the early morning is considerably smaller than that previously reported from afternoon measurements. A "floor effect" may be an explanation for the difference in the distribution characteristics of salivary cortisol.
Kobayashi, H., & Miyazaki, Y. (2015). Distribution characteristics of salivary cortisol measurements in a healthy young male population. Journal of Physiological Anthropology, 34(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40101-015-0068-0