Cortisol awakening response (CAR) as an indicator of psychological stress and related physical and psychiatric diseases has attracted growing attention from researchers. Although CAR changes have been investigated extensively in children with behavioral and psychiatric disorders, the association between CAR and conventional psychometric scales for healthy children has not been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between salivary CAR and subscales of Profiles of Mood States (POMS), a self-assessment questionnaire widely used to evaluate the temporal emotional states of healthy children.
This study included 18 healthy girls aged 13–16 years. Saliva was collected immediately on awakening, 30 min and 60 min after waking, and then at 2-hour intervals from 9 am to 5 pm. The current mood state, including depression, anxiety, fatigue, and other psychometric profiles were assessed using POMS. The magnitude of salivary CAR and the area under the concentration-time curve (AUC) for diurnal salivary cortisol were compared with the profiles. There were significant positive correlations between the magnitude of CAR and the POMS subscales for "Depression-Dejection", "Tension-Anxiety", "Fatigue", and "Confusion". No correlation was found between the AUC salivary cortisol level and the psychometric profiles.
Salivary CAR was associated with various mood states of healthy female children but diurnal salivary cortisol AUC was not. Salivary CAR may be a biomarker of the physical and mental condition of healthy female children.