Publication Date

5-2018

Advisor(s)

Royette Tavernier; Hilary C. Barth; Mike Robinson

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Despite extant research on associations among sleep, physical activity, and psychosocial functioning, few studies have explored whether these associations differ by gender and athlete status, specifically within the context of university. The aim of the present study was to examine gender and athlete status as moderators of the relationships among sleep, physical activity, and various indices of psychosocial functioning (e.g., mental health and alcohol use) among emerging adults. Participants were 187 students enrolled at a small, liberal arts university (Mean age = 20.40 years old, SD = 1.80, 65.2% female), who completed an online survey, as part of a larger study on psychosocial adjustment in university. Hierarchical regression analyses, controlling for key covariates such as demographics, mental illness, self-esteem, grit, and chronotype, indicated that athlete status moderated the association between sleep problems and self-esteem. Gender moderated the association between sleep disturbances and stress, as well as sleep disturbances and depression. Furthermore, both gender and athlete status moderated the association between alcohol use and social jetlag (i.e., the misalignment between one’s biological and social clocks). Findings have important implications for both athlete and non-athlete university students, coaches, and university administration by providing insight into how demands of university schedules are linked to sleep-wake timing, patterns of physical activity, and overall psychosocial adjustment during the critical developmental age period of emerging adulthood.

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