Sleep Timing During Adolescence: A Latent Transition Analysis Approach



Publication Details

Magee, C. A. & Blunden, S. (2020). Sleep Timing During Adolescence: A Latent Transition Analysis Approach. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 18 (1), 131-146.


Objective/Background: This paper utilized a person-centered approach to examine individual differences in sleep timing cross-sectionally and prospectively in adolescents.

Participants: Data from Waves 5 and 6 of the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children were used. At Wave 5, the sample included 3,552 Australian adolescents aged 12-13 years (51% males, 49% females); 84% provided data at two-year follow-up (Wave 6).

Methods: Through structured interviews, adolescents provided information on sleep timing (bedtimes, sleep-onset times, and wake times) on weekends and weekdays, and relevant covariates. Latent profile analysis identified sleep profiles at Waves 5 and 6 separately; latent transition analysis examined stability and change in profiles across time.

Results: Six sleep timing profiles were identified at age 12-13 years: Early Larks (n = 228; 6.4%); Larks (n = 1257; 35.4%); Intermediate (n = 1311; 36.9%); Owls (n = 351; 9.9%); Variable Owls (n = 308; 8.7%); and, Late Owls (n = 97; 2.7%). Six similar profiles were identified at age 14-15 years. The latent transition analysis indicated that the Early Larks, Larks, and Intermediate profiles were more stable over time compared with the Owls, Variable Owls, and Late Owls profiles. Higher body mass index (BMI) and longer screen time predicted transitions from Larks and Early Larks to the Owls, Variable Owls, and Late Owls profiles.

Conclusions: Many adolescents showed healthy sleep timing, which continued with age. However, the Variable Owls, Owls, and Late Owls profiles reflected less healthy and more variable sleep patterns that may require targeted interventions.

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