Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Committee Director

Bryan E. Porter

Committee Member

Michelle L. Kelley

Committee Member

Yusuke Yamani

Abstract

Teenage driver sleepiness is a recent concern for preventing motor vehicle fatalities. Early school start times limit the amount of sleep teenage high school students acquire during the week and have been related to increased crash risk. The current study extends this finding to teenage and emerging adult college students. The author examined the link between sleepiness and teenage driving behaviors, including the relationship between school start times and sleepiness. In all, 536 participants were recruited to participate in an online survey assessing driving and sleep behaviors. Correlations and path analysis found that sleepiness fully mediated the relationship between early class start times and driving behaviors. Surprisingly only daytime sleepiness (as measured by the ESS), not sleep quality (as measured by the PSQI), mediated this relationship. Furthermore, both driving errors and driving violations were related outcomes to class start time as mediated by sleepiness, with hypotheses only expecting errors to be so. Reasons for violations being predicted when unexpected are discussed. Overall, this study adds to a growing literature supporting the influence of later class start times, and indicates that college students may be at similar driving risk as high school teenagers with early class start times.

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