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Problematic technology use and sleep quality in young adulthood: Novel insights from a nationally representative twin study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Juan J. Madrid-Valero, Timothy Matthews, Nicola L. Barclay, Candice Odgers, Terrie Moffitt, Avshalom Caspi, Louise Arseneault, Alice M. Gregory

Original languageEnglish
Accepted/In press16 Jan 2023

King's Authors


Study objectives: Digital technology use is associated with poor sleep quality in adolescence and young adulthood although research findings have been mixed. No studies have addressed the association between the two using a genetically informative twin design which could extend our understanding of the etiology of this relationship. This study aimed to test: 1) the association between adolescents’ perceived problematic use of digital technology and poor sleep quality; 2) whether the association between problematic use of technology and poor sleep quality remains after controlling for familial factors, and 3) genetic and environmental influences on the association between problematic use of technology and poor sleep quality.
Methods: Participants were 2,232 study members (18-year-old twins) of the Environmental Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study. The sample was 48.9% male, 90% white and 55.6% MZ. We conducted regression and twin difference analyses and fitted twin models.
Results: Twin differences for problematic use of technology were associated with differences for poor sleep quality in the whole sample (pConclusions: Adolescent reported problematic use of digital technology is associated with poor sleep quality – even after controlling for familial factors including genetic confounds. Our results suggest that the association between adolescents’ sleep and problematic digital technology use is not accounted for by shared genetic liability or familial factors but could reflect a causal association. This robust association needs to be examined in future research designed to test causal associations.

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