Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dollinger, Stephanie

Abstract

This study explored the cognitive performance of poor and good sleepers in college students and older adults including inhibition, sustained attention, processing speed, spatial ability, attention set shifting, short term and working memory. Demographic measures, health measures, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Sleep Self-Efficacy scale, WAIS III Block Design and Digit Span, Trail Making Test Part A and B, psychomotor Vigilance Task, and the Multisource Interference task were given to participants. Sleep group accounted for the variance in cognitive performance even after controlling for education, depression, health, and age in the older adults. Age differences were not observed in sleep self-efficacy but were observed for self-reported sleep quality and cognitive performance. Sleep onset latency was a significant predictor of cognitive performance in older adults and sleep duration was significant for college students. Implications of the study include accidents, academic performance, and mental well-being as a result of cognitive deficit due to sleep loss.

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