Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Psychology and Behavioral Sciences
Tony R. Young
College years are a time of change and transition that involves complex challenges in academic, social, personal/emotional, and institutional adjustment. Stress, anxiety, and tension are often associated with college transition and adjustment; stress and worry have been related to poor sleep quality. Studies have found that college students have more sleep problems than the general public. Research has shown that poor sleep has adverse effects on cognition, mood, and other physiological and psychological aspects of human functioning. Recent research has indicated that sleep quality may be more important than amount of sleep. Relationships have been found between sleep problems and various psychological difficulties and cognitive deficits in college students. Research suggests that sleep problems can have detrimental effects on various components of college adjustment. However, studies examining the relationship between sleep and dimensions of college adjustment are limited. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between college students' sleep quality, their adjustment to college, and their physical/mental health. The relationship between sleep quality and college adjustment was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Sleep Quality Index, a sleep habits questionnaire, and the College Adjustment Scales (CAS). The relationship between sleep quality and general physical/mental health was assessed using the above sleep measures and Version 2 of the SF-36 Health Survey. Because significant gender differences were found in the initial analysis, results were analyzed separately for males and females. Males scored significantly higher than females on five scales of the CAS, including Academic Problems, Anxiety, Career Problems, Suicidal Ideation, and Substance Abuse. Results indicate that relationships exist between sleep quality and college adjustment and between sleep quality and general physical/mental health. In general, it was found that male students who have poor sleep quality report higher levels of anxiety, depression, interpersonal problems, academic problems, and self-esteem problems. Male students who have poor sleep quality rate themselves as having lower levels of personal health and report more limitations in physical health due to physical problems. They also report more limitations in usual role activities due to physical health problems, higher levels of fatigue, more limitations in social activities due to physical or emotional problems, more limitations in usual role activities due to emotional problems, and higher levels of psychological distress. Female students who have poor sleep quality report higher levels of anxiety, depression, interpersonal problems, and academic problems. They rate themselves as having lower levels of personal health and higher levels of fatigue. They also report more limitations in social activities due to physical or emotional problems, more limitations in usual role activities due to emotional problems, and higher levels of psychological distress. The relationship between college students' sleep duration and their adjustment to college and physical/mental health was not found to be significant. Findings have implications for students with sleep difficulties and college adjustment and/or health problems. Students should be informed that poor sleep quality might lead to adjustment and/or health problems. Attempts should be made to identify those at risk for poor sleep quality. The results of this and other studies suggest that sleep hygiene education should be offered to all students due to the high prevalence of sleep problems in the college population.
Krenek, Robert L. Jr., "" (2006). Dissertation. 559.