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White adolescent girls may be losing sleep from the pressure to be thin

Date:
June 15, 2011
Source:
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Summary:
Pressures to be thin from girlfriends and the media significantly predict sleep duration, accounting for 4.5 percent of the variance in hours of sleep for adolescent girls, according to a new study. These pressures to be skinny were significantly predictive of sleep duration for white girls, but not for blacks or Hispanics. Together, the two predictors shared 6 percent of the variance in hours of sleep among white girls, with the strongest predictor being pressure to be skinny from girlfriends.

Sleep duration has a significant association with feelings of external pressure to obtain or maintain a thin body among adolescent girls, especially those who are white, suggests a research abstract being presented in Minneapolis, Minn., at SLEEP 2011, the 25th Anniversary Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS).

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Results show that pressures to have a thin body from girlfriends and from the media significantly predict sleep duration and account for 4.5 percent of the variance in hours of sleep for adolescent girls. When results were divided and analyzed by ethnicity, these pressures to be skinny were significantly predictive of sleep duration for white girls, but not for black or Hispanic girls. Together, the two predictors shared six percent of the variance in hours of sleep among white adolescent girls, with the strongest predictor being pressure to be skinny from girlfriends.

"There is a significant amount of research in other areas regarding pressure on adolescent females to minimize body weight, but this pressure as it relates to sleep health is a less-explored topic and its consequences are mostly unknown," said principal investigator Katherine Marczyk, a doctoral student in clinical health psychology and behavioral medicine at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. "These results are important as this discovery could be one of the first steps in this research."

Marczyk and co-author Allison Wilkerson led the study, which is a secondary analysis from a larger study led by North Texas professor Trent Petrie, PhD. It involved 789 female middle-school students from a suburban school district in Texas. Their mean age was about 12 years. About 60 percent of participants were white, 26 percent were Hispanic and 10.5 percent were black.

Participants completed the Perceived Sociocultural Pressure Scale, which assesses how much pressure an individual has felt to lose weight and have a thin body. The scale also evaluates the potential sources of this pressure, including peers, friends, family and the media. Sleep was assessed using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, which is the most commonly used measure of sleep in epidemiological studies. A linear regression was used to assess the degree to which perceived sociocultural pressure predicts hours of sleep.

According to the authors, losing sleep could put adolescent girls at risk for other health problems. In particular, decreased sleep has been linked to increased anxiety and depression.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "White adolescent girls may be losing sleep from the pressure to be thin." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614101125.htm>.
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2011, June 15). White adolescent girls may be losing sleep from the pressure to be thin. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614101125.htm
American Academy of Sleep Medicine. "White adolescent girls may be losing sleep from the pressure to be thin." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110614101125.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

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