Earlier school start times are associated with higher rates of behavioral problems in elementary schools

Peggy S. Keller, Lauren R. Gilbert, Eric A. Haak, Shuang Bi, Olivia A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Early school start times may curtail children's sleep and inadvertently promote sleep restriction. The current study examines the potential implications for early school start times for behavioral problems in public elementary schools (student ages 5-12 years) in Kentucky. Method School start times were obtained from school Web sites or by calling school offices; behavioral and disciplinary problems, along with demographic information about schools, were obtained from the Kentucky Department of Education. Estimated associations controlled for teacher/student ratio, racial composition, school rank, enrollment, and Appalachian location. Results Associations between early school start time and greater behavioral problems (harassment, in-school removals, suspensions, and expulsions) were observed, although some of these associations were found only for schools serving the non-Appalachian region. Conclusions Findings support the growing body of research showing that early school start times may contribute to student problems, and extend this research through a large-scale examination of elementary schools, behavioral outcomes, and potential moderators of risk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-118
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 National Sleep Foundation.


  • Appalachia
  • Behavior problems
  • Children
  • Discipline
  • School start times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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