Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Morningness-Eveningness in Adolescents

Academic journal article The Spanish Journal of Psychology

Morningness-Eveningness in Adolescents

Article excerpt

Individual morningness-eveningness differences explain the rhythmic variations of behavioral and biological patterns. Several studies have corroborated that morningness preference increases over adulthood and aging. Adolescents shift their time of day preferences from morningness to eveningness during puberty. The aims of this study were translate to Spanish the Morningness-Eveningness Scale for Children (MESC) and to analyze age and sex differences. A group of 600 adolescents (aged between 12 and 16 years) participated in the study. Psychometric analysis showed that reliability and factor structure were suitable and similar to previous studies. The results indicated a clear decrease of morningness as of 12 years. Boys were more morningness-oriented than girls in several items of the questionnaire. In view of the results, several educational implications are raised.

Keywords: morningness-eveningness, adolescence, age, sex

La tendencia a la matutinidad-vespertinidad permite explicar gran parte de las variaciones rítmicas de patrones biológicos y conductuales. Se ha constatado que con la edad se produce un incremento paulatino de la matutinidad. En población adolescente se ha detectado una mayor tendencia a la vespertinidad. Los objetivos del estudio fueron la traducción y adaptación del Morningness-Eveningness Scale for Children (MESC) a población adolescente, así como el análisis de las diferencias de edad y sexo. En el estudio participaron 600 adolescentes entre 12 y 16 años. Los resultados indicaron que el MESC es un instrumento fiable en población adolescente, siendo su estructura factorial similar a la obtenida en otros estudios. A partir de los 12 años se producía una disminución progresiva de la matutinidad, siendo esta disminución mayor para las mujeres que para los varones en algunos elementos del cuestionario. Se plantean algunas implicaciones educativas a raíz de los resultados obtenidos.

Palabras clave: matutinidad-vespertinidad, adolescencia, edad, sexo

The physiological processes and the use of psychological resources of an organism vary throughout the day (Carrier & Monk, 2000). Many of these fluctuations follow two clearly differentiated patterns of change that reflect the morningness-eveningness tendency. Basically, the difference consists of the fact that the maximum (acrophase) of some circadian rhythms (i.e., body temperature, cortisol, or melatonin) occurs between 1 and 3 hours earlier for clearly morning-oriented people than for others who are more evening-oriented (Baehr, Revelle, & Eastman, 2000). Considering the interaction between a person's own rhythms and those of the environment (e.g., light-darkness, social cues), morning and evening types show differences in their behavioral habits (Roenneberg, Wirz-Justice, & Merrow, 2003), as well as characteristic personality differences (DeYoung, Hasher, Djikic, Criger, & Peterson, 2007; Díaz- Morales, 2007). This variable of individual differentiation has received much attention in the work setting, as it is one of the best factors to predict the adaptation to shift work (Pisarski et al., 2006) and, with this purpose, diverse selfreports have been created that, once validated, have led to quicker and simpler assessment of circadian rhythm without having to resort to physiological measures or registers (Adan, Caci, & Prat, 2005; Díaz-Morales & Sánchez-López, 2004, 2005a, 2005b).

A series of studies have shown that morningness increases with age, and therefore, the ease in adapting to shift work is partially reduced (Costa, Sartori, & Åkerstedt, 2006). In this sense, older adults feel better carrying out their activities in the morning and, if possible, always in the morning. In contrast, during adolescence there is a higher tendency to eveningness, a consequence both of the maturation processes typical of puberty and of the many changes in the adolescent's relational and social sphere (Carskadon & Acebo, 1993). …

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