Research Article| Volume 3, ISSUE 2, P113-118, April 2017

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Earlier school start times are associated with higher rates of behavioral problems in elementary schools

Published:February 24, 2017DOI:



      Early school start times may curtail children's sleep and inadvertently promote sleep restriction. The current study examines the potential implications for early school start times for behavioral problems in public elementary schools (student ages 5-12 years) in Kentucky.


      School start times were obtained from school Web sites or by calling school offices; behavioral and disciplinary problems, along with demographic information about schools, were obtained from the Kentucky Department of Education. Estimated associations controlled for teacher/student ratio, racial composition, school rank, enrollment, and Appalachian location.


      Associations between early school start time and greater behavioral problems (harassment, in-school removals, suspensions, and expulsions) were observed, although some of these associations were found only for schools serving the non-Appalachian region.


      Findings support the growing body of research showing that early school start times may contribute to student problems, and extend this research through a large-scale examination of elementary schools, behavioral outcomes, and potential moderators of risk.


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