Objective: Although the first year of high school may represent a particularly stressful time for adolescents, no research addresses how stressors are related to insomnia symptoms during this time. Thus, we examined how stress relates to concurrent and prospective insomnia symptoms in adolescents beginning high school (Aim 1). Additionally, we assessed repetitive negative thinking (RNT) as a mediator (Aim 2). We also evaluated whether the pattern of associations differed for boys and girls (Aim 3). Methods: Adolescents (N=502; M age=14.22 years; 58.2% girls; 91.2% Hispanic/Latinx) completed questionnaires about stressors related to beginning high school (e.g., school performance, peer pressure), family support, RNT, and insomnia symptoms at the beginning and end of their first year of high school. Multiple group structural equation models assessed relationships between these variables and evaluated differences between boys and girls. Results: School/leisure conflict and low family support were directly associated with insomnia symptoms at both times, and RNT mediated these relationships in both boys and girls. In girls, peer pressure and low family support were indirectly associated with Time 1 and Time 2 insomnia symptoms via RNT. In boys, school performance was indirectly associated with Time 1 and Time 2 insomnia symptoms via RNT. Conclusions: Stressful experiences at the beginning of high school negatively affect sleep in adolescents both in the short and long term. Pediatric psychologists should educate adolescents and their parents about the risk of sleep problems during this time period and provide strategies for stress management and for proper sleep hygiene.
- High school
- Repetitive negative thinking
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology