B4506 - Sleep problems in adolescence as a risk factor for mental health problems in young people - Part 5 - 08/01/2024

B number: 
Principal applicant name: 
Isabel Morales-Muñoz | University of Birmingham (United Kingdom)
Gabriella Camp
Title of project: 
Sleep problems in adolescence as a risk factor for mental health problems in young people - Part 5
Proposal summary: 

Sleep is a critically important behavior, although we still do not fully understand it. A substantial body of evidence indicates that an appropriate level of sleep is necessary for optimization of physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning. In other words, sleep is crucial - it is as important to our bodies as eating, drinking and breathing, and is vital for maintaining a good mental health. In other words, sleep is a key aspect when exploring mental health problems. However, there are still a number of unanswered aspects in this area of research. For example, it is still unclear whether sleep is prospectively related to a wide range of mental health problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, psychosis), or whether it is more relevant in certain areas. Further, it is unclear how sleep prospectively associates with mental health: are there specific underlying mechanisms or contributing factors explaining these prospective associations? The relevance of understanding the role that sleep plays in the development of subsequent mental health problems lies in the possibility of designing future intervention strategies in mental health, where intervention in sleep would be one of the main focuses, to prevent the development of future mental disorders.
Therefore, the current project will involve investigating how sleep problems in adolescence prospectively associate with several mental health problems in young adulthood, and determining which is the role of relevant factors, including environmental, family, or cognitive factors in these prospective associations. To do this, we will use secondary data analyses, using the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), which comprises around 14,000 individuals recruited at birth. Risk factors to be investigated in this study include sleep patterns in adolescence (15 years old), such as sleep duration, bedtime, sleep fragmentation or sleep onset latency. Further, we will focus on a range of mental health outcomes at the age of 24 years old as the dependent variables, including depression, anxiety, psychosis, or self-harm. Finally, we will include number of potential covariates in these analyses, such as family factors, socio-economic status, social factors of cognitive factors.

Impact of research: 
The direct impact will be the consecution of the MSc dissertation project of the 7 students. In addition, this project will further allow us to better understand the prospective associations between sleep and mental health in young people.
Date proposal received: 
Thursday, 4 January, 2024
Date proposal approved: 
Monday, 8 January, 2024
Mental health - Psychology, Psychiatry, Cognition