Promoting wellbeing: amylase as an indicator of changes in stress level in people with intellectual disabilities

Nigel Marshall, Kagari Shibazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this paper we present the results of two small scale, pilot studies which explore the use of a small hand-held monitor used for measuring the relative levels of the digestive enzyme, Amylase, in the saliva of a population of adolescent children with intellectual disabilities, who experienced a music concert. Our hypothesis was that experiencing the concert would significantly reduce the levels of stress in each individual and thus promote an increased level of wellbeing. The study also focussed on exploring the extent to which salivary amylase activity (SAA) can be measured and used as an indicator of relative changes in levels of stress and ultimately, to see the extent to which such measurements could give ‘voice’ to individuals with intellectual disability. In the event, our hypothesis was not supported in that participants did not display decreased levels of SAA to a level of significance. However, further analysis and triangulation of the initial results through the case notes of each individual suggested that in fact the SAA measures were accurate and that the expectation that all participants would respond in an identical fashion, had been un-realistic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-76
JournalAsian Journal of Human Services
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017


  • salivary biomarkers
  • amylase
  • stress
  • wellbeing
  • intellectual disability

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