Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Annette M. La Greca

Second Committee Member

Jill Ehrenreich-May

Third Committee Member

Alan Delamater


Sleep loss is associated with a host of negative physical, psychological, and academic outcomes in adolescents, and past research indicates that stress contributes to sleep loss. Although the transition to high school represents a particularly stressful time for adolescents, no research is currently available on how transition stressors are related to sleep loss. This study sought to examine how transition stressors relate to concurrent and prospective sleep problems in adolescents transitioning to high school. Additionally, it sought to understand the role that gender, family support, and repetitive negative thinking might play in the relationship between stress and sleep. Participants were 511 ninth graders (M age = 14.22, SD = .52). Adolescents completed a short form of the Adolescent Stress Questionnaire, the Perceived Social Support – Family measure, selected items from the Perseverative Thinking Questionnaire – Child Version, and three items about sleep loss at two time points at the beginning and end of their first year of high school (October and May). Girls reported more stressors than boys, and stressors related to peer pressure and teacher interaction appeared to be stable over time. Hierarchical linear regression analyses indicated that all transition stressors were associated with concurrent sleep loss, while peer pressure and school/leisure conflict also related to sleep loss prospectively. Gender moderated these relationships, such that there was a stronger relationship between stressors and sleep loss in boys compared to girls. Less family support and higher levels of repetitive negative thinking were associated with more sleep loss. Repetitive negative thinking appeared to mediate the relationship between certain transition stressors and sleep loss. Stressful transition experiences can negatively impact sleep in adolescents transitioning to high school. Schools should consider family-based intervention programming to improve sleep hygiene. Pediatricians should monitor patients with recent school transitions for sleep problems and provide support for dealing with common transition stressors.


sleep; stress; high school transition

Available for download on Sunday, May 02, 2021