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Student Adjustment to University: Impact of Circadian Misalignment, ADHD Symptomology and Eveningness Chronotype

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Title: Student Adjustment to University: Impact of Circadian Misalignment, ADHD Symptomology and Eveningness Chronotype
Author: Panetta, Larissa
Department: Department of Psychology
Program: Psychology
Advisor: Young, Arlene
Abstract: Adjusting to university can be a challenging time for most young adults. The discrepancy between one’s preferred sleep cycle and the schedule actually followed due to school and work demands (circadian misalignment – hereafter, CM) is an unexplored but potentially important factor that may impact adjustment. This study examined if student adjustment to university could be independently predicted by CM overall, as well as by two subcategories of CM, centering on one’s bed time (evening misalignment – EM) or one’s rise time (morning misalignment – MM). First-year students (n = 99) provided measures of their negative emotionality, university adjustment, academic performance, preferred sleep timing, and typical rise & bedtimes at the beginning of the term and two months later. Given the well-documented university adjustment challenges and sleep difficulties experienced by individuals with ADHD symptomology, the associations between ADHD symptoms, misalignment, and adjustment were also examined. A series of hierarchical regression models were used to examine the unique contribution of CM, MM, and EM to student negative emotionality, university adjustment, and academics after controlling for age, gender, ADHD symptomology, sleep timing preferences, and baseline measures of the respective dependent variables. CM made a significant independent contribution to adjustment and academics, but not negative emotionality, while EM significantly contributed to all three dependent measures, and MM did not significantly contribute to any. The results hold promise for CM – and especially EM – as unique predictors for adjustment in first-year university students. These findings have implications for enabling a more successful transition to university for students with ADHD in particular.
Date: 2017-08
Rights: Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada
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Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada