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Sleep Factors May Contribute Indirectly to Association between Symptoms of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Impulsivity and Future Orientation Among College Students

Jane F. Gaultney, Hannah D. Peach, Manju Banerjee

Abstract


Both ADHD and poor sleep are associated with deficits in prefrontal cortex functioning, and related executive processes (e.g. directing attention, judgement and decision-making). The present study examined whether sleep factors provided an indirect link between certain symptoms of ADHD and impulsivity or future orientation among college students. Several aspects of impulsivity were considered, including motor impulsivity, non-planning, and attentional impulsivity. Symptoms of ADHD and attentional impulsivity showed a significant indirect effect via risk for sleep disorder and sleep quality, but not through daytime sleepiness, sleep duration, or sleep consistency. Motor impulsivity was indirectly predicted through sleep quality only, and non-planning impulsivity produced no significant indirect effects. Future orientation was indirectly predicted by risk for sleep disorder and daytime sleepiness. One implication of these data is that this population should be screened for sleep issues and referred for treatment as needed. The present data do not indicate whether improving sleep (e.g., diagnosing and treating a sleep disorder, addressing counterproductive sleep hygiene practices) would improve impulsivity or lack of future orientation associated with ADHD, but rather reinforces the need to consider sleep issues when identifying or treating individuals with such disabilities. Implications for postsecondary disability services providers is discussed.

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Keywords


ADHD; college students; future orientation; impulsivity; sleep

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18666/LDMJ-2019-V24-I1-9146

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