Afternoon Drowsiness Linked to Anti-Social Behavior in Teens

Drowsiness in class

UK researchers discovered that afternoon drowsiness in teens can result in anti-social behavior.

Ever felt like putting down your head on the bench and sleep through the whole lesson while you were in class? While most of us, at some point, fell asleep during class, it appears that those who do it on a regular basis are more likely to develop an anti-social behavior. A new study from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of York reveals that teens who tend to experience drowsiness in class are more likely to engage in criminal activities during adulthood.

Studying Teenage Drowsiness

After studying the link between criminal behavior and attention span in adolescents, a team of researchers from UK’s University of York and the University of Pennsylvania have discovered that individuals who experience drowsiness in class, especially in the afternoon, are 4.5 times more likely to become anti-social and even to engage in criminal activity in later adulthood.

Adrian Raine, the study’s co-author, stated that the study regarding the link between drowsiness and anti-social behavior began approximately 15 years ago. While conducting research for his Ph.D. thesis, Raine managed to amass a large volume of data on teenage criminal activity. Furthermore, according to the study’s co-author, it appears that the data spans over 39 years. However, this is the first time Raine managed to study the phenomenon in detail.

In order to ascertain if there is indeed a causal relationship between afternoon drowsiness and anti-social/delinquency, Raine and Peter Venables, solicited the help of over 100 teenagers. All participants were 15-years-old and studied in North England school.

Over the span of several weeks, the volunteers were asked to participate in special classes. The classes were scheduled for the 1 to 3 pm interval. During each session, the participants were asked to grade their drowsiness level using a one to seven scale, one meaning that they were alert, while seven meant that they were feeling sleepy.

The Result of the Study 

So, what were the results of this study? As you would expect, not all participants who reported feeling drowsy during the afternoon classes developed anti-social/criminal behavior. However, Raine pointed out that 17 percent of participants were charged and imprisoned for violent crimes.

All in all, Raine and Venables have discovered that teens who fall asleep each day during afternoon classes are 4.5 times more likely to be involved or commit violent crimes by the time they reach the age of 29.

Now, as Raine pointed out, the study’s results should be taken with a grain of salt meaning that not all teens who fall asleep during class end up in jail for committing violent crimes.

Image Source: Wikipedia

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