Community violence concerns and adolescent sleep

Erika J. Bagley, Kelly M. Tu, Joseph A. Buckhalt, Mona El-Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The goal of this study was to examine links between concerns about community violence and objective and subjective sleep parameters in an adolescent sample. Sex was considered as a moderator of effects. Design: The study used a cross-sectional design. Participants: The community-based sample included 252 adolescents (53% girls) with an average age of 15.79 years (SD = 0.81) from the Southeastern United States. The sample included 34% African American and 66% European American adolescents from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. Measurements: Adolescent-reported community violence concerns were assessed using a composite of 3 separate subscales that measured perceived community safety and threats of community and school violence. Sleep duration and quality were assessed using actigraphy, and subjective sleep problems and daytime sleepiness were measured with subscales of the School Sleep Habits Survey. Results: Community violence predicted lower sleep efficiency, more long-wake episodes, and more sleep/wake problems and sleepiness. Sex-related moderation effects revealed that girls in the sample were more vulnerable to the effects of violence concerns on their objective sleep quality. Conclusions: Findings highlight the role of community violence concerns on adolescents' sleep, revealing that greater community violence concerns are linked with lower levels of actigraphy-based and subjective reports of sleep quality, particularly for adolescent girls. Consideration of the mechanisms by which violence concerns may affect sleep is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Actigraphy
  • Adolescent
  • Community violence
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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