Ethnoracial sleep disparities among college students living in dormitories in the United States: a nationally representative study

Rodney D. Jones, W. Braxton Jackson, Alana Mazzei, Anne Marie Chang, Orfeu M. Buxton, Chandra L. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: Ethnoracial disparities in sleep health across the lifecourse, may underlie other disparities in health and well-being among adults in the United States (U.S.). We evaluated if socioenvironmental stressors, which likely differ by the race/ethnicity of college students, may contribute to sleep disparities in this demographic group. Design/Measurements: National Health Interview Survey data pooled from 2004 to 2017 were used to test the hypothesis that ethnoracial disparities in sleep exist among college students residing in dormitories in the U.S. Setting: Nationally representative survey data. Participants: A total of 2,119 college students residing in dormitories (71% White, 16% Black/African-American, 7% Hispanic/Latino, and 6% Asian) participated in the study. Results: The prevalence of short sleep duration was higher among Black/African-Americans than among White students, but not among Hispanics/Latinos and Asians, after adjusting for age, gender, and region of residence. In fully adjusted models, Black/African-Americans, although no longer statistically significant after adjustments, were more likely to report short sleep duration compared with White students (adjusted prevalence ratio; [aPR] = 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.98-1.71). The prevalence of separate insomnia symptoms did not differ by ethnoracial group in adjusted models. Only Asian students had a higher prevalence (aPR = 1.40, 95% CI: 1.12-1.75) of nonrestorative sleep than White students. Conclusion: Black/African-American but not Hispanic/Latino or Asian college students were more likely to report short sleep duration than Whites. Insomnia symptoms did not differ between groups, while Asians experienced more nonrestorative sleep. Future studies should investigate the socioenvironmental causes of disparities using longitudinal designs, larger sample sizes, better socioeconomic status (SES) indicators, and objective sleep measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalSleep health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2020


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Behavioral Neuroscience

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