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 journalArticle

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)
JournalSleep Health
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Keywords

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

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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