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01-02-2015 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2015

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2015

The Impact of Sleep Duration on Adolescent Development: A Genetically Informed Analysis of Identical Twin Pairs

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2015
J. C. Barnes, Ryan C. Meldrum


Recent work provides evidence that reduced sleep duration has detrimental effects on a range of developmentally related outcomes during adolescence. Yet, the potential confounding influence of genetic and shared environmental effects has not been sufficiently addressed. This study addresses this issue by analyzing cross-sectional data from the twin sub-sample of the first wave of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health [N ≈ 287 MZ (monozygotic) twin pairs; 50 % male; 22 % Black; mean age = 15.75]. Associations between sleep duration (measured through two different strategies, one tapping number of hours slept at night and the other measuring weeknight bedtimes) and seven outcomes (self-control, depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, body mass index, violent delinquency, non-violent delinquency, and drug use) were estimated. Consistent with prior research, associations between sleep duration and several outcomes were statistically significant when using standard social science analytic methods. Yet, when employing a methodology that accounts for genetic and shared environmental influences, some of these associations were reduced to non-significance. Still, two consistent associations remained in that participants who reported sleeping fewer hours at night (or who reported later bedtimes) exhibited lower levels of self-control and more depressive symptoms. Implications of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.

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