Objectives: Sleep plays an important role in adolescent development, affecting learning, concentration and attention. The identification of sleep problems in adolescents and the factors correlated to such problems might help to prevent the development of psychiatric disorders.Methods: Telephone interviews were used as tools to investigate sleeping habits. Two questionnaires, related to mood disorders and sleep problems, were administered to a sample of more than 2,000 interviewed adolescents between 16 and 22 years old, resident in two Italian Regions. A recursive bivariate probit model was the econometric strategy selected to individualize correlations between the main variables and to calculate the probability for young people to develop both disturbances.Results: Depressed mood and bad sleep habits are frequent for young people and are significantly correlated. Females show more variations in mood level than males, as well as reduced appetite and asthenia. The probability of developing both symptoms is about 10% in the observed population.Conclusions: Results of the analysis confirm the main statements seen in medical literature about psychiatric disorders and sleep habits. The originality of the study relies both in the procedure followed by collecting data (telephone interviews) as well as on the estimation strategy selected, that allows to verify the correlation between the main variables of the analysis. The early detection of affective symptoms in adolescents may presumably lead to a diminished use of antidepressants, an improvement in learning abilities and school results, together with a strengthening of personal motivations.
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