Friday, July 6, 2012

Get them some sleep, scientists say of young delinquents

Ju­ve­nile de­lin­quen­cy among high school stu­dents may be partly linked to lack of sleep, re­search­ers have found based on a new stu­dy. Al­though a handful of past stud­ies have sug­gested such a link could ex­ist, lit­tle de­tailed in­forma­t­ion ex­ists. The new anal­y­sis found that more se­ri­ous forms of de­lin­quen­cy ap­pear to be­come more com­mon in rela­t­ion to the sev­er­ity of youngsters’ sleep de­fi­cit. The study re-examined 15-year-old da­ta from the Na­tional Lon­gi­tu­di­nal Study of Ad­o­les­cent Health, a fed­er­ally funded pro­ject that sur­veyed ad­o­les­cent health in the Un­ited States in rela­t­ion to a va­ri­e­ty of risky be­hav­iors. The sur­vey sam­ple used for the study on sleep and de­lin­quen­cy en­com­passed 14,382 high school stu­dents—half ma­le, half fema­le, 63.5 pe­r­cent white. Stu­dents who slept sev­en or few­er hours nightly re­ported “sig­nif­i­cantly more prop­er­ty de­lin­quen­cy,” such as van­dal­ism or theft, than stu­dents who slept the rec­om­mended eight to 10 hours, the au­thors of the new study re­ported. The findings ap­pear in the Oct. 10 is­sue of the Jour­nal of Youth and Ad­o­les­cence. Those who slept five or few­er hours per night, meanwhile, “re­ported sig­nif­i­cantly more vi­o­lent de­lin­quen­cy,” wrote the re­search­ers, Sa­man­tha Clink­in­beard and col­leagues at the Uni­vers­ity of Ne­bras­ka at Oma­ha.
“Lack of sleep has been linked to a wide range of neg­a­tive de­vel­op­men­tal out­comes,” but “largely over­looked among re­search­ers in­ter­est­ed in ad­o­les­cent de­lin­quen­cy,” the group wrote. Al­though the study could­n’t demonstrate that in­suffi­cient snooz­ing caused de­lin­quen­cy rath­er than, for ex­am­ple, the oth­er way around, “the find­ings sug­gest that sleep is an im­por­tant, and over­looked, di­men­sion of de­lin­quent be­hav­ior,” the re­search­ers wrote. They ar­gued that this as­pect de­serves fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­t­ion. The study did­n’t de­ter­mine wheth­er in­som­nia, home en­vi­ron­ment or oth­er fac­tors caused the sleep short­age pos­sibly linked to de­lin­quen­cy. But a smaller stu­dy, pub­lished in last De­cem­ber’s is­sue of the Jour­nal of Ge­net­ic Psy­chol­o­gy, found that “pos­sible in­som­ni­a” pre­dicted smok­ing, de­lin­quen­cy and drinking-and-driving among high school­ers. “Sleep and oth­er rel­e­vant health be­hav­iors [should] be con­sid­ered in the con­text of more com­pre­hen­sive ap­proaches to de­lin­quen­cy pre­ven­tion and in­ter­ven­tion,” Clink­in­beard and col­leagues wrote.

 
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