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Effects of a selective educational system on fatigue, sleep problems, daytime sleepiness, and depression among senior high school adolescents in Taiwan

Authors Chen T, Chou Y, Tzeng N, Chang H, Kuo S, Pan P, Yeh Y, Yeh C, Mao W

Received 7 November 2014

Accepted for publication 10 February 2015

Published 19 March 2015 Volume 2015:11 Pages 741—750


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Professor Wai Kwong Tang

Tien-Yu Chen,1,2 Yu-Ching Chou,3 Nian-Sheng Tzeng,1,2,4 Hsin-An Chang,1,2,4 Shin-Chang Kuo,1,2,5 Pei-Yin Pan,1,2 Yi-Wei Yeh,1,2,5 Chin-Bin Yeh,1,2 Wei-Chung Mao1,2,6

1Department of Psychiatry, Tri-Service General Hospital, 2School of Medicine, National Defense Medical Center, 3School of Public Health, National Defense Medical Center, 4Student Counseling Center, National Defense Medical Center, 5Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, 6Institute of Brain Science, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China

Objective: The aim of the study reported here was to clarify the effects of academic pressure on fatigue, sleep problems, daytime sleepiness, and depression among senior high school adolescents in Taiwan.
Methods: This cross-sectional study enrolled 757 senior high school adolescents who were classified into four groups: Grade 1 (n=261), Grade 2 (n=228), Grade 3T (n=199; Grade 3 students who had another college entrance test to take), and Grade 3S (n=69; Grade 3 students who had succeeded in their college application). Fatigue, sleep quality, daytime sleepiness, and depression were assessed using the Chinese version of the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory – Short Form, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index-Taiwan Form, the Chinese version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale, and the Chinese version of the Beck Depression Inventory®-II (BDI-II), respectively.
Results: Physical, emotional, and mental fatigue scores were all higher in higher-grade groups. The Grade 3T (test) students had the worst fatigue severity, and the Grade 3S (success) students had the least fatigue severity. More than half of the students (60.9%) went to bed after 12 am, and they had on average 6.0 hours of sleep per night. More than 30% of the students in Grade 2 (37.3%) and Grades 3T/S (30.2%/30.4%) possibly had daily sleepiness problems. The students in Grade 3T had the worst BDI-II score (13.27±9.24), and the Grade 3S students had a much lower BDI-II score (7.91±6.13).
Conclusion: Relatively high proportions of fatigue, sleep problems, daytime sleepiness, and depression among senior high school adolescents were found in our study. The severities of fatigue, sleep problems, and depression were significantly diminished in the group under less academic stress (Grade 3S). Our findings may increase the understanding of the mental health of senior high school students under academic pressure in Taiwan. Further large sample size and population-based study should be done for better understanding about this topic.

Keywords: academic stress, students, mental health, hours of sleep, school performance

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