Date: August 2012
Creator: Womack, Stephanie D.
Description: While sleep loss has been shown to have detrimental effects on cognitive, physiological, and psychological processes, it has only recently been investigated as a possible causal factor of risk-taking behavior (i.e., a conscious choice to engage in dangerous behavior despite knowledge of possible loss or harm). Among the few studies that have been conducted in this field, the majority found that as individuals become sleepier, their propensity to engage in risk-taking behavior increased. The results of the current study indicated a positive relationship between increased sleep loss and two measures of specific risk-taking behavior (i.e., substance use, sexual compulsivity), but no significant relationship between sleep loss and measures of general risk-taking behavior. There was some evidence for temporal stability of the Iowa Gambling Task (IGT), though scores on the IGT were not related to scores on other measures of risk-taking, nor to measures of sleep loss. Negative mood was found to partially mediate the relationship between sleep loss and substance use, as well as the relationship between sleep loss and sexual compulsivity.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries