Salivary Osmolality, Function, and Hydration Habits in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

Janet C. Mentes, Michelle A. DeVost, Karabi Nandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between hydration status as measured by salivary osmolality and personal hydration habits, selected demographic characteristics, and performance on a walking and balance test in older community-dwelling adults. This study used a descriptive observational design in a convenience sample of multiethnic, community-dwelling older adults (N = 53). We collected saliva for analysis on 3 days both in the morning and early afternoon, along with a hydration habit questionnaire, get up and go test and demographic information. An exploratory factor analysis of the hydration habit questionnaire revealed a two-factor solution including physical barriers and psychological barriers to drinking fluids. A linear mixed-model approach revealed that time of day (p <.01), race (p =.015), mobility (p <.01), and cognitive barriers (p =.023) are all significant predictors of salivary osmolality among noninstitutionalized seniors. There is also a significant interaction between psychological barriers to drinking fluids and time of day (p <.01). Average salivary osmolality was higher in this group of older adults than has been reported in younger adults. Controlling for all other variables, salivary osmolality is higher in the morning than in the afternoon, lower among Black or African American seniors than among White or Caucasian seniors, and higher among seniors with decreased mobility. An interaction between psychological barriers and salivary osmolality showed that those participants with more psychological barriers to drinking had higher salivary osmolality in the morning and an inverse relationship in the afternoon.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open Nursing
StatePublished - 2019


  • dehydration
  • older adult
  • salivary osmolality


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