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J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2013 Nov;41(8):1179-89. doi: 10.1007/s10802-013-9709-0.

Violence exposure, sleep disturbance, and poor academic performance in middle school.

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Department of Public Health, Temple University, 1301 Cecil B. Moore Ave, 957 Ritter Annex, Philadelphia, PA, 19122, USA,


Violence has been linked to poor academic outcomes in youth, but there is little understanding of the mechanisms underlying this relation. This longitudinal survey study investigated whether sleep disturbance potentially mediates the associations between academic achievement and two forms of violence exposure--community violence and peer victimization-- in 498 seventh-grade youth. Structural equation models showed that community violence was associated with lower grade point average (GPA) directly and indirectly via sleep problems, whereas peer victimization was associated with lower GPA just indirectly via sleep problems. The structural models controlled for potential confounds, including depressive symptoms, intrusive thoughts and absenteeism. The findings suggest that failing grades and sleepiness in school may be signs that youth are exposed to violence. Interventions to improve sleep hygiene and reduce violence exposure may help to improve academic outcomes for youth.

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