Prevalence of sleep disorders by sex and ethnicity among older adolescents and emerging adults: Relations to daytime functioning, working memory and mental health

Megan Petrov, Kenneth L. Lichstein, Carol M. Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations


The study determined the prevalence of sleep disorders by ethnicity and sex, and related daytime functioning, working memory, and mental health among older adolescent to emerging adult college students. Participants were U.S.A. undergraduates (N=1684), aged 17-25, recruited from 2010 to 2011. Participants completed online questionnaires for all variables. Overall, 36.0% of the sample screened positive for sleep disorders with insomnia, restless legs syndrome, and periodic limb movement disorder being the most prevalent. Women reported more insomnia and daytime impairment. African-Americans reported more early morning awakenings and less daytime impairment. Students with insomnia symptoms or restless legs syndrome tended to have lower working memory capacities. Students with nightmares or parasomnias had greater odds for mental disorders. In an older adolescent to emerging adult college student sample, sleep disorders may be a common source of sleep disturbance and impairment. Certain sleep disorders may be associated with lower working memory capacity and poor mental health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-597
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 2014



  • Daytime functioning
  • Ethnicity
  • Mental health
  • Sex
  • Sleep disorders
  • Working memory capacity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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