Article Title



Christina Westbrooks1, Simon Higgins2, Eric Hall, FACSM1, Svetlana Nepocatych1. 1Elon University, Burlington, NC. 2University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

Background: Diagnoses of mental health disorders are rising in high school students. Little is known about the relationship between changes in sleep and the development of mental health issues, or whether other lifestyle factors (e.g., alcohol consumption) impact this relationship. Indeed, underage drinking is a significant public health concern with 57.8% of high school students reporting binge drinking. The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between sleep, alcohol consumption, and stress as an acute marker of mental health among high school seniors. Methods: This cross-sectional sample includes 23 high school seniors (56% female, 17.9±.4 years, Body Mass Index 25.1±2.6 kg/m2, relative body fat 31.3±8.7%). Characteristics of sleep were measured via the 19-item Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and Sleep Hygiene Index (SHI). Stress was assessed using the 10-item perceived stress scale (PSS). The 10-item alcohol use disorders identification test (AUDIT) was used to screen for alcohol consumption. Pearson correlations were used to assess the relationship between sleep behaviors, alcohol consumption, and mental health. Results: Underage alcohol consumption was reported by 30% of participants, putting participants at moderate risk for an alcohol use disorder in the future. A nonsignificant correlation was observed between sleep quality and SHI (r= 0.31, p=0.15), AUDIT score (r=-0.08, p=0.68), and perceived stress (r=0.37, p=0.07). Similarly, nonsignificant correlations were noted between SHI and AUDIT score (r=0.07, p=0.73), and perceived stress (r=0.28, p=0.19). Discussion: Although, no significant relationship between stress, sleep and alcohol consumption was observed at this time, a trend for better sleep quality and mental health could be observed. As this is part of an ongoing longitudinal study, we anticipate this trend to strengthen as sample size increases. Further research is needed to better understand the effects of lifestyle factors on sleep characteristics and mental health. Funding: Funding for this project was provided by the National Heart, Lung, And Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R15HL159650 and the Undergraduate Research Program at Elon University.

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