Dr. Amy Wolfson


Clinical Psychology, Sleep and Circadian Rhythms

Adolescents’ Sleep, Sleep Hygiene, and Daytime Functioning

In my lab we are conducting a number of studies regarding adolescents’ sleep/wake schedules.  In particular, school-based preventive health education is considered a critical step in the goal to improve children’s health and to develop lifelong healthy habits. One health behavior - the development of efficient sleep patterns - has received little attention from public health and school officials, despite the knowledge that sleep plays a critical role in daytime functioning. I am collaborating with Dr. Christine Marco, Rhode Island College, in a study (funded by NIH, NICHD) aimed at examining the effectiveness of a school-based preventive intervention program for improving the quantity and quality of young adolescents’ (e.g., 7th and 8th graders) sleep/wake schedules (Sleep-Smart Program, Wolfson, 2001).  Our research also focuses on factors that influence adolescents’ sleep and daytime behavior such as family environment, school start times, and caffeine and alcohol use/abuse.  Likewise, we are also determined to better understand the consequences of inadequate and irregular sleep/wake patterns for children and adolescents such as academic performance, emotional well being, and physical health.

Women’s Health:  Focus on Sleep

My research and writing also focus on women’s sleep and circadian rhythms with a particular emphasis on the pregnancy and postpartum period.

Selected Publications

Wolfson, A., Lacks, P., & Futterman, A. (1992). The effects of parent training on infant sleeping patterns, parents’ stress and perceived competence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 60, 41-48.

Wolfson, A., & Carskadon, M. (1998).  Sleep schedules and daytime functioning in adolescents.  Child Development, 69, 875-887.

Carskadon, M., Wolfson, A., Acebo, C., Tzischinsky, O., & Seifer, R.  (1998).  Adolescent sleep patterns, circadian timing, and sleepiness at a transition to early school days.  Sleep, 21, 871-881.

Wolfson, A. R. (2001).  The Women’s Book of Sleep: A Complete Resource Guide.  Oakland, CA:  New Harbinger Publications, Inc.

Wolfson, A.  (2002).  Bridging the gap between research and practice:  What will adolescents’ sleep/wake patterns look like in the 21st Century?  In M.A. Carskadon (Ed.), Adolescent Sleep Patterns: Biological, Social, and Psychological Influences.  New York: Cambridge University Press.

Wolfson, A. R., Crowley, S., Anwer, U., & Bassett, J.  (2003).  Changes in sleep patterns and depressive symptoms in first-time mothers:  Last trimester to one-year postpartum. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 1, 54-67. 

Wolfson, A. R., Carskadon, M. A., Acebo, C., Seifer, R., Fallone, G., Labyak, S. E., & Martin, J. L. (2003). Evidence for the validity of a sleep habits survey for adolescents.  Sleep, 26, 213-216.

Vo, O. T., LeChasseur, K., Wolfson, A., & Marco, C.  (2003).  Sleepy Pre-Teens:  Second Pilot of Sleep-Smart Program in 7th Graders.  Sleep (Supplement), 26, 1036. 

Wolfson, A. R., & Carskadon, M. A. (2003). Understanding adolescents’ sleep patterns and school performance: A critical appraisal.  Sleep Medicine Reviews, 7, 491-506.

Acebo, C. & Wolfson, A. R.  (2004).  Inadequate sleep in children and adolescents.  In Kushida  CA (Ed), Sleep Deprivation.  New York:  Marcel Dekker, Inc.

LeBourgeois, M. K., Giannotti, F., Cortesi, F., Wolfson, A. R., & Harsh, J.  (2005).  The relationship between reported sleep quality and sleep hygiene in Italian and American adolescents.  Pediatrics, 115, 257-265.

Wolfson, A. R. & Lee, K.  (2005).  Pregnancy and Postpartum.  In Kryger, M. (Ed)  Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine, (4th Edition).  W. B. Saunders Company. 

Wolfson, A. R. & Carskadon, M. A.  (2005).  A survey of factors influencing high school start times.  NASSP Bulletin, 89, 4-66.

Wolfson, A. R., Quinn, A., & Vannucci, A.  (2006).  Defining, assessing, and treating adolescent insomnia and related sleep problems.  In H. Attarian (Ed.) Sleep and Its Disorders in Women (1st edition).  Totowa, NJ:  Humana Press.

Wolfson, A. R., Spaulding, N., Dandrow, C., & Baroni, E.  (2007).  Early versus late starting middle schools:  The importance of a good night’s sleep for young adolescents.  Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 5, 194-209.

Wolfson, A. R. (2007).  Adolescent Sleep Update:  Narrowing the Gap between Research and Practice. Sleep Review: The Journal for Sleep Specialists, 8, 28-32.

Canton, B., Patel, B., Quinn, A., Barry, K., Naku, K., Marco, C., & Wolfson, A.  (June 2007).  Wired or tired:  Caffeine use, expectancies, and sleep patterns in adolescents- Two pilot studies.  Sleep (Supplement), 30. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, Minneapolis, MN. 

Wolfson, A. R. & Armitage, R.  (in press).  Sleep and its relation to adolescent depression.  In S. Nolen-Hoeksema    (Ed.)  Handbook of Depression in Adolescents.  Erlbaum.