[Purpose] Temporomandibular disorder is one of the many different adverse health conditions that can be triggered by stress. Therefore, a biopsychosocial model has been proposed to characterize the multifactorial nature of temporomandibular disorder. The aim of the present study was investigate the correlation of salivary cortisol levels with the activities of the masseter and anterior temporal muscles of patients with different degrees of temporomandibular disorder. [Subjects and Methods] Forty-nine women between 18 and 40 years of age with a diagnosis of myogenous temporomandibular disorder based on the Research Diagnostic Criteria for temporomandibular disorders were evaluated using the Fonseca Index to determine the degree of the disorder. Salivary cortisol levels were determined and surface electromyography was used to evaluate electrical activity in the masticatory muscles. [Results] Positive correlations were found among the degree of temporomandibular disorder, electromyographic activity and salivary cortisol: as women with more severe temporomandibular disorder had greater electrical activity in the muscles analyzed, especially the anterior temporal muscle, and higher levels of cortisol. [Conclusion] Muscle activity was greater among individuals with severe temporomandibular disorder and positive correlations were found among electromyographic activity, salivary cortisol and the degree of temporomandibular disorder severity.