School Start Time and Psychological Health in Adolescents

Aaron T. Berger, Rachel Widome, Wendy M. Troxel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose of Review: Later school start times are associated with a number of benefits for adolescents. The purpose of the current review is to summarize the literature regarding the effects of delaying school start times on adolescent psychological health. Recent Findings: We identified eight observational studies that examined the relationship between schools’ starting times and psychological outcomes. Of these, three were longitudinal studies that reported measures of adolescent mental health improved following a start time delay. Two cross-sectional studies showed that mental health scores were higher in schools with later compared to earlier start times. Three studies found no relationship between start time and mental health. Summary: In the majority of studies reviewed, later school start times were associated with greater adolescent psychological health. However, inherent design drawbacks in the studies prevent us from concluding that these associations are causal. There are a wide range of potential benefits, beyond mental health, that later high school start times offer. This encouraging, emergent literature on delayed start times has led many school districts to consider changes to their start times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-117
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Sleep Medicine Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by grants from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (5R01HD088176-03 to R.W.)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature.


  • Adolescent health
  • Mental health
  • Public policy
  • Schools
  • Sleep


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