Author Information

Kimberly Bryant


Adolescent sleep deprivation has been the focus of recent research; its primary cause is a shift in adolescents’ biological rhythms (Carskadon, Wolfson, Acebo, Tzischinsky, & Seifer, 1998). As a result, many school systems have chosen to restructure their school start times to allow high school students to start school later, resulting in younger students going to school earlier. Despite the research describing the benefits this change in school start times will provide adolescents, there has been virtually no research regarding its effects on younger children. This study examines the effects that a change in school start time between 2nd grade and 3rd grade has on younger children’s cognitive performance (CPT II and Digit Symbol) and sleep (actigraph and CSHQ). Participants consisted of two groups: a control group, who started school at 9:00 a.m. in 2nd and 3rd grade, and an experimental group, who changed to an earlier start time from 2nd (9:10) to 3rd (7:45) grade. Results showed no significant within or between group differences in 2nd or 3rd grade on the cognitive measures. Three trends were present from 2nd to 3rd grade, in the experimental group (total number correct, hit reaction time) and the control group (hit reaction time). Correlations existed between some of the sleep and cognitive measures. Results suggest that earlier school start times do not have adverse cognitive effects on school-aged children.

Note on the Author

Kim Bryant graduated in May 2012 from Bridgewater State University with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. This research began in the spring of 2011 as part of the Adrian Tinsley Program Summer Grant under the direction of Dr. Sandra Neargarder. She presented this research at the 2011 ATP Summer Symposium, at the 2012 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ogden, Utah, and at Bridgewater State University’s 2012 Undergraduate Symposium. This research was also part of her Honors Thesis in Psychology.

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