3412 Relationship between Various Measures of Stress and Salivary Flow Rates
R. ROLDAN, B. LISKA, L. CARDENAS, J. KORTE, and H.F. THOMAS, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, USA

Objective: Mothers of low socioeconomic status (SES) experience higher levels of stress than their non-poor counterparts with corresponding increases in the prevalence of several chronic health conditions. A role for stress in the pathogenesis of oral disease has been suggested and may involve an association between stress and low salivary flow rates. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between behavioral and biochemical measures of stress in low SES mothers and determine the effect of stress on salivary flow. Methods: Forty-eight mothers attending a Community Health Center Women Infants and Children (WIC) clinic were enrolled in this study. Demographic data (age, marital status, number of children) were recorded and two questionnaires (Holmes-Rahe Life Events Scale and Cohen Perceived Stress Scale) were administered to assess the mother's stress levels. Stimulated salivary samples were collected and levels of the stress hormone cortisol were determined using a commercially available kit, DSL Saliva Cortisol EIA. Results: The mean age of mothers enrolled in this study was 32 years (range 14-47 years). High levels of stress (Perceived Stress Scale) were recorded in > 80% of mothers and more than twice as many of these women (25.6%) had high cortisol levels compared to mothers with low stress levels (11.1%). There was no correlation between the Life Events Scale and cortisol levels. High levels of perceived stress were associated with younger, unmarried mothers and low salivary flow rates (p= 0.07). Higher cortisol levels were associated with number of children (<3) but there was no correlation between cortisol and salivary flow rates. Conclusion: Low SES mothers attending a community health center exhibit high levels of perceived stress and low salivary flow rates that may increase their risk of oral disease.

Seq #355 - Stress, Health Promotion, and Clinical Trials
10:15 AM-11:30 AM, Saturday, 13 March 2004 Hawaii Convention Center Exhibit Hall 1-2

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