Sleep as an Occupation in College Students: An Exploratory Study

Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

Department or Program

Occupational Therapy

Department or Program Chair

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

First Reader

Ruth Ramsey, EdD, OTR/L

Second Reader

Alison Virzi, MS, OTR/L


Sleep as an occupation is frequently under-valued by college students. The purpose of this study was to measure the quality of sleep in undergraduate college students and explore the relationship between academic self-efficacy and performance in student-related occupations. A quantitative, exploratory, descriptive and correlational research design was used to explore the relationship among sleep quality, perceived self-efficacy, and selected characteristics in undergraduate college students (18-25 y/o). Participants included some first generation students, students with disabilities, and student athletes. To collect data, the researchers conducted an online survey, utilizing the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and original demographic and self-efficacy questionnaires. The PSQI was used to evaluate the sleep quality, while the demographic and self-efficacy questionnaires gathered information about student demographics, student related occupations and perceived self-efficacy. Two hundred and nine college students, aged 17 to 25, participated in the survey. One hundred thirty five (64.6%) participants reported poor sleep quality, while 74 (35.4%) participants reported good sleep quality as measured by the PSQI. The average number of hours slept reported by participants was 6.68, with a range of one to 11 hours. Despite limited correlations from the study further research may serve as an effective tool in identifying strategies to improve the quality and quantity of sleep in college students. Occupational therapists can help college students establish effective sleep routines as part of their practice. More effective sleep routines may in turn lead to more effective engagement in other occupations.

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