Research Study Abstract

Community, household, and individual correlates of sleep behaviors in Guyanese female youth

  • Published on July 9, 2019

Chronic sleep loss among youth is a worldwide health problem. Since research on its predictors is often limited to high‐income countries, it is unclear if these findings are generalizable to all populations. To address this gap from an ecological perspective, we evaluated the associations between adolescents’ sleep behaviors and several factors at the community, household, and individual levels in a middle‐income country.

This was a cross‐sectional study of 73 girls (mean age = 14.5 y; range = 11–18 y) in rural and urban communities in Guyana. Sleep behaviors (nap‐duration, bedtime, rise‐time, night‐bed‐duration, and sleep‐duration) were assessed with interviews and monitored up to 7 consecutive days using waist‐worn accelerometers.

Similar to other settings, Guyanese urban youth reported significantly later bedtimes than rural youth, and increasing age was associated with later bedtime and shorter night‐bed‐duration. In contrast to the association observed in high‐income countries, increasing household poverty scores in Guyana were associated with longer night‐bed‐duration.

Although the relationships between locale, age, and sleep in Guyana paralleled patterns seen in high‐income countries, the positive relationship between poverty and sleep diverges from previous reports. These findings suggest that predictors of chronic sleep loss seen in high‐income countries are likely to differ from those in middle‐ and low‐income countries. More sleep studies in underrepresented populations are needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of adolescent sleep behavior and its correlates.


  • Evanna I. Singh 1,2
  • Virginia J. Vitzthum 1,2,3


  • 1

    Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

  • 2

    Evolutionary Anthropology Laboratory, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

  • 3

    Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indian


American Journal of Human Biology