Considering the realities of salivary research with young children: What's spit all about?
16 July 2012
17T04:00:06Z January 2014
Over the last two decades, interest in salivary research in the social sciences has grown rapidly. Salivary research is appealing as a quick, inexpensive and non-invasive means of determining a range of biological markers, which offer insight into a variety of human responses, for example, stress. To the social researcher these advantages provide exciting possibilities for new transactions between social, behavioural and biological models of development. Salivary research is especially attractive to those working with children. Indeed, as well as being non-invasive, saliva also provides an opportunity to measure variables with young children where self-report measures may be inappropriate. Yet, for all its appeal the reality of saliva collection with younger populations appears far from straightforward. This article draws on two research examples to illustrate some of the methodological, ethical and practical issues pertinent to salivary research with young children. Specifically, it considers barriers to participation and possible strategies for promoting the methodological and ethical basis of salivary research. In doing so, it provides starting points for discussion in what has become a critical methodological debate.
Type of Material
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
International Journal of Social Research Methodology
Copyright (Published Version)
2012 Taylor & Francis
Status of Item
Not peer reviewed
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License