Dr. Jessica Levenson?s long-term career goal is to become an independent investigator who develops, tests, and optimizes stakeholder-informed adolescent health promotion programs that target sleep in order to promote emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health outcomes. Scalable, effective sleep health promotion programs are critically needed to address the significant and damaging effects of insufficient sleep in adolescent populations. The overall aim of Dr. Levenson?s research proposal is to involve various stakeholders (e.g., youth, parents, clinicians, administrators, and adolescent health advocates) in the design, pilot testing, and assessment of the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of a sleep promotion program delivered to 13-15 year olds who report insufficient sleep.
In Aim 1, Dr. Levenson will use qualitative methods to conduct and analyze feedback from focus groups of key stakeholders (n=3 groups), a stakeholder advisory board, and a case series (n=6). The goals of this formative qualitative research with iterative stakeholder input are: 1) to inform program format, materials, and outcomes; 2) to identify adolescent values and goals related to obtaining sufficient sleep; and 3) to understand facilitators and barriers to program adherence and delivery.
In Aim 2, Dr. Levenson will examine the feasibility and acceptability of the program through a small open trial (n=6) and a randomized pilot trial (n=40) that uses a two-period, wait-list control design.
In Aim 3 Dr. Levenson will test whether the program is associated with changes in sleep, motivation, and four outcome domains (academic functioning, attention, risk behavior, and affect). Such a broadly relevant program has the potential for enormous public health impact by improving sleep and facilitating healthy development across a range of domains among typically-developing adolescents who are highly vulnerable to adverse consequences. This research will support Dr. Levenson?s training goals of 1) developing proficiency in conducting stakeholder- guided research that focuses on integrating the priorities, needs, and outcomes that are critical to various stakeholders; 2) obtaining training in developing sleep-focused intervention programs for adolescents that are highly focused on building motivation and increasing self-efficacy to change behavior; and 3) developing expertise in adolescent development with a focus on the nature and consequences of normative sleep and circadian rhythm changes that occur during adolescence. The mentoring team is led by Dr. Elizabeth Miller, an expert in community-based, stakeholder-engaged, patient-oriented research in adolescent health, and Dr. Tina Goldstein, an expert in the development and testing of psychosocial interventions for at-risk youth. The proposed training and research aims will support Dr. Levenson?s submission of an R01 research grant aiming to test the effectiveness of the intervention program. Moreover, the proposed training will place Dr. Levenson on a trajectory of independence in investigating health promotion programs that are the most likely to be effective, adopted, and implemented.

Public Health Relevance

Insufficient sleep in adolescent populations has significant effects on emotional, cognitive, and behavioral domains, such as mood lability, attention, risk-taking behaviors, and impulsivity. However, little work has examined the potential for intervention programs to promote sleep health in early adolescence, and thereby enhance emotional, cognitive, and behavioral health. This proposal will involve stakeholders (youth, parents, clinicians, administrators, and health advocates) in the design, pilot testing, and assessment of the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary outcomes of a sleep promotion program for 13-15 year olds who report insufficient sleep.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award (K23)
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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group (CHHD)
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Lee, Karen
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Medicine
United States
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