The increase in media multitasking among adolescents has raised concerns regarding its possible negative impact on sleep. Although cross-sectional studies have found a relationship between media multitasking and sleep problems, knowledge about the causal direction is lacking. In a first step to understand causality, we examined the longitudinal relationship between media multitasking and sleep problems among 1443 adolescents (7th and 8th graders, 11–15 years, 51% boys), who completed a questionnaire three times at three-to-four month intervals. We employed random intercept cross-lagged panel models, which specifically examine cross-lagged correlations within (rather than between) individuals. The findings showed no cross-lagged correlations for the overall sample. However, the results indicated that, for 7th graders and girls, media multitasking was (marginally) related to more subsequent sleep problems. Our findings provide first evidence that media multitasking may affect the sleep of 7th graders and girls.

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Computers in Human Behavior
Department of Psychology

van der Schuur, W., Baumgartner, S.E. (Susanne E.), Sumter, S.R. (Sindy R.), & Valkenburg, P. (2018). Media multitasking and sleep problems. Computers in Human Behavior, 81, 316–324. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2017.12.024