Association between Salivary Alpha-Amylase and Executive Functioning in Healthy Children

Enrique F. MALDONADO, Mari Anneli NISLIN, Laura MARÍN, Ana MARTÍN-ESCRIBANO, Alfredo ENGUIX, Cristina LÓPEZ, Alba MAGARÍN, Ana ÁLAMO, Paula ORTÍZ, Marina MUÑOZ, Silvia GARCÍA

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The main aim of this study was to confirm the relationship between executive performance and salivary alpha-amylase (SAA) activity in a sample of 64 healthy children (39 boys), and compare it to the association of SAA output and salivary flow rate (SFR). Executive functioning was assessed via fluency, trail-making, rings and inhibition tasks from the Batería de Evaluación Neuropsicológica de la Función Ejecutiva en Niños [Battery of Neuropsychological Assessment for Executive Function in Children] (ENFEN), merged into an ENFEN total score. SAA activity, output, and SFR were measured at baseline, one minute before, and one minute after the end of a neuropsychological testing session. Our results confirmed a direct, linear and significant association between SAA activity and executive functioning, r(64) = .351, p < .05, and extended it to SAA output, r(64) =.431, p < .05. The mean level of SAA output was the best predictor of executive functioning (β = .431, p < .05) and explained 18.2 % of the variance in ENFEN total score. In sum, and compared to SAA activity, measuring SAA output may be a more precise and indirect marker to assess executive functioning in children. Copyright © 2019 Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24
JournalThe Spanish Journal of Psychology
Early online dateMay 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


Maldonado, E. F., Nislin, M., Marín, L., Martín-Escribano, A., Enguix, A., López, C., . . . García, S. (2019). Association between Salivary Alpha-Amylase and Executive Functioning in Healthy Children. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 22. Retrieved from


  • Alpha-amylase
  • Children
  • Executive functioning
  • Saliva


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