Title

Equal Benefits? An Examination of the Potential Consequences of Later School Start Times for Adolescents and Their Mental Health

Department

Psychological Sciences

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

The Journal of School Health

Publication Date

2021-12-23

Volume

92

Issue

3

First Page

309

Last Page

315

Abstract

Background: Given the documented benefits of later school start times on adolescents' mental health, the aim of the current study was to examine if the association between school start times and depressive symptoms differed across adolescents from families of different socioeconomic status levels.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional design, the current study incorporated an online survey for high school students and their parents across the United States, with average sleep duration measured through a 7-day sleep diary. A total of 193 adolescent (Meanage = 15.7 years old, SD = .94; 54.4% female; 71% white) and parent (Meanage = 47.6 years old, SD = 5.4; 80% female; 79% white) dyads participated. Adolescents reported on depressive symptoms, sleep quality and duration, chronotype, and demographic covariates; parents reported on school start times and socioeconomic status.

Results: Results suggested that only in adolescents from higher socioeconomic status families (+1 SD) did the association between later start times and fewer depressive symptoms emerge as significant.

Conclusions: Although more school start times research is needed to understand its impact across diverse groups of students, current findings suggest a disproportionate benefit of reduced depression for youth from families of higher socioeconomic status with having a later start time.

Keywords

adolescence, depressive symptoms, development, health disparities, sleep duration

DOI

10.1111/josh.13127

https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.13127

Share

COinS