A quasi-experimental study of the impact of school start time changes on adolescents' mood, self-regulation, safety, and health

Robert C. Whitaker, Tracy Dearth-Wesley, Allison N. Herman, J. Michael Oakes, Judith A. Owens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether school start time changes impact adolescents' mood, self-regulation, safety, and health. Methods: In September 2015, two school start time changes were implemented in Fairfax County (VA) Public Schools: a 50-minute delay (to 8:10 AM) for high schools and secondary schools and a 30-minute advance (to 7:30 AM) for middle schools. We conducted cross-sectional surveys of students' sleep, mood, self-regulation, health, and safety before (2017 students) and after (1180 students) these changes. Results: Adjusted for confounders, a 50-minute delay was associated with a decreased prevalence of low mood (−4.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: −8.2%, −1.2%), drowsy driving, (−8.4%; 95% CI: −15.9%, −0.9%), and skipping breakfast (−4.2%; 95% CI: −8.1%, −0.2%) but no other significant changes. There were no significant changes associated with a 30-minute advance. Conclusions: A 50-minute delay in school start time in high schools and secondary schools was associated with a decreased prevalence of low mood, drowsy driving, and skipping breakfast. A 30-minute advance in start time in middle schools was not associated with any appreciable changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages4
JournalSleep Health
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge the staff at Child Trends (Bethesda, MD) for their contribution to the survey data collection for this study. Support for this study was provided in part by grants (72549, 73364, and 73346) from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The inclusion of Fairfax County Public Schools? name in this publication does not imply its support, endorsement, or approval of the findings, conclusions, or other contents of this work. All authors have no financial relationships or other conflicts of interest relevant to the manuscript to disclose.

Funding Information:
Support for this study was provided in part by grants ( 72549 , 73364 , and 73346 ) from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation . The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The funder had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript; and decision to submit the manuscript for publication. The inclusion of Fairfax County Public Schools’ name in this publication does not imply its support, endorsement, or approval of the findings, conclusions, or other contents of this work.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 National Sleep Foundation.

Copyright:
Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Breakfast
  • Driving
  • Mood
  • Policy
  • Schools
  • Self-regulation

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