Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Dilbur Arsiwalla


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem within the U.S. and accounts for a substantial proportion of deaths and disability in the U.S. population (Centers for Disease Control, 2016). Focus on TBI, which refers to a disruption of the normal functions of the brain due to a blow or jolt to the head, has risen dramatically due to the increased awareness of its high prevalence, particularly among individuals engaged in contact sports. There are many health implications of a TBI, one being that TBI increases the risk of a sleep disturbance in 30-70% of individuals (Viola-Saltzman, 2012). The current study examined the association between TBI among 176 collegiate and professional athletes (former and current) and their overall sleep patterns (i.e., overall sleep quality, sleep quantity, sleep apnea, insomnia, and narcolepsy). Specifically, we focused on the comparison of sleep patterns among athletes in contact sports (N = 132) versus those in non-contact sports (N = 44). Findings indicate strong associations between TBI and insomnia, sleepiness, apnea, and poorsleep quality, while contact sports were associated with sleep apnea. While TBI had a significant main effect on insomnia, sleepiness, and overall sleep quality, being in a contact sport had a significant main effect on the STOP-BANG measure of sleep apnea. However, there were no interaction effects between TBI and contact sports in the prediction of sleep patterns. These findings have implications for both professional and collegiate athletic programs, as well for health professionals who treat individuals with sleep disorders or a TBI.

Date of Award



Department of Psychology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (66 pages)



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