All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Retta R Evans

Advisory Committee Members

Laura Forbes

Karen Heaton

Yu-Mei Schoenberger

Scott Snyder

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


Background: Sleep is fundamental to overall health and wellbeing. While poor sleep habits have the potential to affect individuals in all phases of life, college students may experience unique challenges related to sleep health as they undergo a significant transition in their life. Lack of understanding regarding the function of sleep and lack of education regarding healthy sleep practices may hinder college students from getting sufficient quality sleep. Sleep health educational interventions on college campuses are rare. Advances in technology, such as text messaging, offer novel ways of providing educational interventions for a variety of health issues. The field of health education and health promotion has been largely absent in applying theory to improve sleep quality. Similarly, interventions utilizing text messaging to address health behaviors also frequently lack a theoretical basis. This study used the Health Belief Model to inform the intervention. Purpose: The purpose of this research was to assess the effect of a text message based educational intervention aimed at improving sleep quality and sleep hygiene behaviors in freshman undergraduate college students at an urban four-year university in the southeastern United States. Method: Three discussion groups were held to test and refine the text message content with the target population. The intervention consisted of a three-group pretest-posttest experimental design where participants were randomly assigned to an experimental, placebo, or control group. Participants completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Sleep Hygiene Index, and a sleep knowledge survey at pre and posttest. Results: Data analysis indicated that the educational intervention was unsuccessful at demonstrating significant differences between treatment groups over time on improvement of sleep quality, sleep hygiene behaviors, and sleep knowledge. Mediation analysis suggested that sleep knowledge did not mediate the relationship between treatment groups and sleep hygiene behaviors. Conclusions: More research is needed to understand how best to harness text messaging technology and sleep health education to promote healthy sleep behaviors in college students.

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