Sleepy Teens More Likely To Commit Crimes As Adults

Posted: Feb 26 2017, 2:52pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 26 2017, 3:39pm CST, in News | Latest Science News

Sleepy Teens More Likely to Commit Crime as Adults
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New research says that tired teens are 4.5 times more likely to commit a violent crime in adulthood.

Teenagers who feel sleepy during the daytime are more likely to commit crimes later in their life. Researchers have found that tired teenagers tend to exhibit more antisocial behavior such as lying, cheating, stealing and fighting during their adulthood than active people of the same age.

To date, this is the first study to make a connection between drowsiness and crime and suggests that this problem can have serious consequences on a person’s life. Researchers have drawn these conclusions after analyzing a set of data collected 39 years ago. The data was part of a dissertation work that had not been analyzed until now.

In the study, researchers recruited around 100 teens from three secondary schools in the north of England and asked them to rate their daytime sleepiness on a 7-point scale, with 1 being "unusually alert" and 7 being "sleepy."

Next they collected data about the antisocial behavior of the participants, which involved self reporting as well as the observations of the teachers who had worked with each teen for at least four years.

“Both are helpful. There are kids who don't really want to talk about their anti-social behavior, and that's where the teacher reports really come in handy," said Adrian Raine, a professor from Department of Psychiatry in Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine. "Actually, the teacher and child reports correlated quite well in this study, which is not usual. Often, what the teacher says, what the parent says, what the child says -- it's usually three different stories."

Finally, researchers checked the criminal record of each of the participants and found that 17 percent of them had committed a crime by age 29.

Study shows that daytime sleepiness can lead to anti social behavior in later life. Obviously, not every child with sleep problem will become antisocial but they will have higher odds of committing a crime. In other words, sleepy teens will fail to effectively regulate their own behavior later in their life.

"Daytime drowsiness is associated with poor attention. Take poor attention as a proxy for poor brain function,” said Raine. “If you've got poor brain functioning, you're more likely to be criminal."

While we believe a number of factor can lead people to commit crime, the impact of insufficient sleep on later years definitely require further research.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/47" rel="author">Hira Bashir</a>
The latest discoveries in science are the passion of Hira Bashir (). With years of experience, she is able to spot the most interesting new achievements of scientists around the world and cover them in easy to understand reporting.




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