Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study links heavy texting, sleep problems in college freshmen

Date:
September 26, 2013
Source:
Washington and Lee University
Summary:
A new study has found that texting was direct predictor of sleep problems in first-year college students.

Texting is a direct predictor of sleep problems among first-year students in a study that examined links among interpersonal stress, text-messaging behavior, and three indicators of college students' health: burnout, sleep problems and emotional well-being.
Credit: Monkey Business / Fotolia

Sleep deprivation has long been considered a significant problem for college freshmen during their transition to campus life. Now, a new study by a Washington and Lee University psychology professor identifies another culprit when it comes to students and sleep problems: texting.

In an article in the latest edition of Psychology of Popular Media Culture, Karla Murdock reported that texting was a direct predictor of sleep problems among first-year students in a study that examined links among interpersonal stress, text-messaging behavior, and three indicators of college students' health: burnout, sleep problems and emotional well-being.

Although the results of the study showed that the impact of texting on students' psychological well-being depended on the level of interpersonal stress they were already facing, more texting was associated with poorer sleep regardless of their previous level of stress.

The students in the study, all in their first year, answered questions that measured academic and social burnout, emotional well-being and sleep problems. Murdock also asked them to estimate how many text messages they send and receive on an average day.

The study's findings on sleep were especially significant given the well-documented compromises in sleep that students experience throughout college, but especially in the first year. Several recent studies have shown that 70 percent of college students receive less than the eight recommended hours of sleep. A 2007 survey by the American College Health Association concluded that 40 percent of students feel rested only two days a week.

To assess students' sleep quality, Murdock used the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index with minor modifications to fit the college sample. This is a widely-used instrument that measures multiple aspects of sleep quality such as sleep duration, the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, the amount of time actually spent sleeping while in bed, nighttime disturbances, and daytime sleepiness.

The key finding was that a higher number of daily texts was associated with more sleep problems. Murdock notes that this finding reinforces previous evidence pointing to a direct association between cell-phone use and poor sleep in adolescents and emerging adults.

Among the potential causes for this connection are two tendencies: students' feeling pressured to respond immediately to texts, no matter what time of day or night, and students' sleeping with the phone nearby, thus being awakened by the alerts from incoming texts.

Meantime, the study found that frequent text messaging was also associated with greater psychological vulnerability to interpersonal stress.

Murdock writes: "These correlational findings provide an initial indication that heavy text messaging could be problematic during times of stress. Although speculative, it could be argued that text messaging is a uniquely unsuitable mode of communication for coping with interpersonal stress in close relationships."

For instance, Murdock suggested, the abbreviated language that is common in texting -- so-called "textese" -- lacks the ability to provide the kind of nuance that is important in discussing sensitive issues. In addition, texting fails to offer critical non-verbal cues that would be part of a face-to-face conversation.

"Text messaging may carry a high risk of producing or maintaining misunderstandings and/or unproductive interactions during periods of stress," she wrote. "When interpersonal stress involves conflict, the conditions required for productive communication may be particularly difficult to achieve through texting."

Murdock and her team of Washington and Lee undergraduate students are currently embarking on a new study to examine pathways through which cellphone is linked with compromises in college students' sleep.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington and Lee University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Karla Klein Murdock. Texting While Stressed: Implications for Students’ Burnout, Sleep, and Well-Being.. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2013; DOI: 10.1037/ppm0000012

Cite This Page:

Washington and Lee University. "Study links heavy texting, sleep problems in college freshmen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926111901.htm>.
Washington and Lee University. (2013, September 26). Study links heavy texting, sleep problems in college freshmen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926111901.htm
Washington and Lee University. "Study links heavy texting, sleep problems in college freshmen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130926111901.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

University Quiz Implies Atheists Are Smarter Than Christians

Newsy (July 25, 2014) An online quiz from a required course at Ohio State is making waves for suggesting atheists are inherently smarter than Christians. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins