Date of Award
Master of Science in Interdisciplinary Neurosciences
Previous research has suggested that college students often experience poor quality of sleep (Lund, Reider, Whiting, & Prichard, 2010), and self-reported poor quality of sleep is associated with poorer EF performance in college students (Benitez & Gunstad, 2012). Preliminary research has also found that college students who report higher levels of ADHD symptoms also report poorer quality of sleep based on the PSQI (Becker, Luebbe & Langberg, 2014; Gau et al., 2007). Therefore, the first purpose of the present study was to investigate whether college students who reported higher levels of ADHD symptoms also manifested poorer EF and if sleep quality moderated this relationship. The second purpose of the present study was to explore whether sleep quality was predictive of self-reported EF before and after controlling for mental health condition and ADHD symptomatology. Specifically, it was hypothesized that higher levels of self-reported ADHD symptomatology would be predictive of poorer self-reported EF. It was also hypothesized that poorer sleep quality would be predictive of poorer self-reported EF. In addition, it was hypothesized that sleep quality would moderate the association between self-reported ADHD symptoms and self-reported EF, specifically college students manifesting poorer sleep quality in addition to higher levels of ADHD symptomatology would be predictive of even poorer self-reported EF. Lastly, it was hypothesized that poorer self-reported sleep quality would be predictive of poorer EF performance after controlling for both mental health condition and ADHD symptomatology. Results from a hierarchical multiple regression revealed that sleep quality was not a significant moderator between ADHD symptomatology and self-reported EF. It was also found that poorer sleep quality and higher levels of ADHD symptomatology, specifically inattention, predicted poorer EF performance. Although sleep quality was a significant predictor of EF, sleep quality was not a significant predictor of EF after controlling for both mental health condition and ADHD symptomatology. Although ADHD symptoms and EF appear to be related, the present study is limited in the inferences between these variables due to their near equivalency statistically and that no pilot testing was conducted. In summary, universities should be encouraged to develop programs that stress the importance of good sleep hygiene for college students.
Blucher, Justin, "Sleep Quality, ADHD Symptomatology, and Executive Functioning in College Students" (2016). Open Access Master's Theses. Paper 954.