Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)




Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology

Committee Director

J. Catesby Ware

Committee Member

Karen B, White

Committee Member

J. D. Ball

Committee Member

Barbara Winstead

Committee Member

Richard Handel


Students in college or in their first year of medical school undergo increased educational and social pressure. To cope, students may sacrifice sleep to meet demands. Poor sleep affects learning, performance, and health. Studies have been successful at improving sleep quality through the use of in-person recruitment or cognitive-behavioral therapy delivered over the internet (Trockel, Manber, Chang, Thurston, & Tailor, 2011). The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether an online sleep hygiene intervention could improve sleep quality. One hundred thirty-eight students from one undergraduate institution in Southeast Virginia completed this study. Students were divided into groups; one of them received information regarding good and bad sleep hygiene and the other received information about dreaming. Both groups filled out the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), The Sleep Hygiene Index (SHI), the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Sleep Hygiene Pretests/Post-test and the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS). Two weeks later, participants filled out the same measures they filled out at the beginning of the study. A mixed analysis of variance was used to evaluate the two different groups. Results indicated significant differences between the two groups in sleep hygiene knowledge. Individuals who received information on this topic had higher levels of knowledge from baseline to post-intervention. No other significant findings were detected. On average, this sample of college students had similar total hours of sleep as other researchers have identified (Lund, Reider, Whiting, & Prichard, 2010). One hundred seven students (77%) were considered "poor sleepers" by the PSQI Global scores. The SHI also identified poor sleep hygiene practices within this sample. Lastly, participants had relatively average positive mood and below average negative mood as measured by the PANAS during baseline and post-intervention. The brief online sleep hygiene intervention did not improve students' sleep quality. It is believed the intervention did not succeed because students' motivation to alter their sleep practices was not assessed and this may have influenced the likelihood of behavior change. Future research should focus on participants' needs and motivation and use this information to tailor the intervention.


A Dissertation Submitted to the Faculties of The College of William and Mary, Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology through the Virginia Consortium Program in Clinical Psychology.


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