Lecture | Tiffany Yip | Exploring Sleep as a Mediator between Ethnic/Racial Discrimination and Adolescent Academic and Psychosocial Outcomes
The negative academic and health effects of ethnic/racial discrimination are robust and pervasive. Taking a biopsychosocial approach, the current study combines actigraphy with a daily diary design to explore sleep duration and quality as an explanatory link between discrimination and outcomes. In a sample of 189 ethnic/racially diverse 9th grade adolescents, the study first assessed the daily impact of discrimination on next-day academic engagement and mood. Second, the study explored sleep as a mediating pathway between discrimination and outcomes. This paper contributes to two timely, yet independent, developmental science literatures. First, the study contributes to a growing literature on how social experiences of discrimination may be embodied psychophysiologically to contribute to ethnic/racial academic and health disparities. Second, the study contributes to the burgeoning science of sleep and its importance for youth development. Intersecting these literatures, the study found that on days in which youths reported unfair ethnic/racial treatment, they also spent more minutes awake after falling asleep. In turn, sleep disturbance was associated with feeling more anxious and less academically engaged the next day. Together, the data support a temporal mediated pathway wherein discrimination is associated with same-evening sleep disturbance, which is then predictive of next-day outcomes. The developmental implications of the observed daily-level associations are profound. Over time, the downstream effects of everyday discrimination may contribute to persistent academic and health disparities.