Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 88, Issue 6, pp 1130–1142

Sleep Disturbance and Risk Behaviors among Inner-City African-American Adolescents


    • University of Alabama
  • John M. Bolland
    • University of Alabama
  • Brad E. Lian
    • University of Alabama

DOI: 10.1007/s11524-011-9591-4

Cite this article as:
Umlauf, M.G., Bolland, J.M. & Lian, B.E. J Urban Health (2011) 88: 1130. doi:10.1007/s11524-011-9591-4


Adolescents tend to experience more problems with sleep loss as a natural consequence of puberty, whereas teens from impoverished urban areas are likely to witness neighborhood violence and/or engage in risk behaviors that may affect sleep. Data from the Mobile Youth Survey, a longitudinal study of impoverished inner-city African-American adolescents (1998–2005; N = 20,716; age range = 9.75–19.25 years), were used to compare paired years of annual surveys elicited by questions about how sleep was affected when bad things happen to friends or family. Using a cross-lagged panel multivariate approach comparing reports for two sequential years and controlling for age/gender plus exposure to traumatic stress and violence, prior sleep disturbance was associated with carrying a knife/gun, brandishing a knife/gun, using a knife/gun, quick temperedness, warmth toward mother, worry, and belief in the neighborhood street code in the latter year. Conversely, seeing someone cut, stabbed, or shot, using alcohol, worry, and internalized anger were associated with sleep disturbance in a latter year. Although a limited measure of sleep disturbance was used, these findings support further research to examine sleep disturbance and risk behaviors among low-income adolescents.


SleepAdolescentRisk behaviorsPoverty AreaAfrican Americans

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2011