Combined light therapy and group psychotherapy as treatment for delayed sleep phase syndrome in university students.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Delayed sleep phase syndrome is a circadian rhythm sleep disorder, prevalent amongst adolescents and young adults, the symptoms of which can cause distress and impairment in daily functioning. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a four week treatment programme integrating light therapy and group psychotherapy for university students with delayed sleep phase syndrome. A multiple-baseline across-groups design followed 18 university students (17-45 years of age) meeting ICSD-3 criteria for delayed sleep phase syndrome, over pre-treatment, intervention, and post-treatment phases, and at a 3-month follow-up. Primary outcome measures included the DASS-21, WHOQOL-BREF, Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and a measure of academic self-efficacy. Secondary outcome measures were sleep parameters recorded using a sleep diary. Results revealed improvements in some outcome variables (physical quality of life, stress), but no statistically or clinically significant change in the majority of outcome variables at post-treatment or follow-up. Suggestions to improve the effectiveness of subsequent programmes are discussed, alongside comparisons to similar programmes aimed at improving delayed sleep phase syndrome and its associated symptoms.