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The Combination of an Explicit and Implicit Intervention : the Effects of an Implicit Sleep Intervention on University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Worm, Maria (2021) The Combination of an Explicit and Implicit Intervention : the Effects of an Implicit Sleep Intervention on University Students during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Abstract:Introduction. Sleeping problems are a detrimental trend in the general Dutch population. University students are especially affected by poor sleep as for different factors which are typically prevalent in their lives. In addition, existing COVID-19 restrictions decrease the sleep quality through their impact on the context of, for example, private, professional, or social activities. Many different interventions are already being used to tackle sleep problems. For the purpose of this study, two different types of interventions were defined, namely explicit and implicit interventions. In contrast to the explicit type, implicit sleep interventions do not exist yet. Both types were implemented in the form of a two-part study while this paper specifically focused on the implementation of a new implicit sleep intervention. Therefore, the aim of this study was to test the effectiveness of a self-made implicit sleep intervention on the sleep quality of university students. Further, the individual experience during and after the intervention as well as the impact of the COVID-19 restrictions on the intervention’s effectiveness were investigated. Methods. A total of 41 students (Mage = 21) participated in the study. The participants were instructed to conduct the implicit intervention, the Circadian-Card-Game, in the morning and evening throughout seven days. Further, the participant’s sleep quality was measured with the Sleep Quality Scale before and after the intervention. Within the program SPSS Statistics, a paired t-test was conducted for these two values to define the change in sleep quality which was interpreted as the intervention’s effectiveness. In addition, a self-made process evaluation scale on the implicit intervention, including quantitative items and the option to add qualitative elaborations, has been included. The aim was to gain insight into the respondent’s experience throughout the intervention and determine its impact on the intervention’s effectiveness. An ANCOVA model was created including the sleep quality before the intervention as the independent variable and the sleep quality after the intervention as the dependent variable. It accounted for the process evaluation as the covariate. Lastly, the influence of the current COVID-19 measures on the participant’s sleep quality was investigated to determine its impact on the intervention’s effectiveness. Another ANCOVA model was utilized, exchanging the covariate from the previous model for the COVID-19 influence. Results. It was found that sleep quality significantly increased after the implicit intervention which was interpreted as the effectiveness of the Circadian-Card-Game. The process evaluation scale revealed an overall neutral to positive experience with the intervention for most participants. It had no significant effect on the intervention’s effectiveness. Further, the influence through the COVID-19 measures was largely neutral to positive for the participant’s sleep quality. This influence had no significant effect on the intervention’s effectiveness. Conclusion. The hypothesis that an implicit intervention can improve sleep quality was confirmed. However, since this intervention was applied together with an explicit intervention, it cannot be determined which aspect actually caused the change in sleep quality but it is solely interpreted as the implicit intervention’s effectiveness. The expected influences through the impact of the COVID-19 regulations and the participant’s process experience did not occur. A gap in literature was found referring to implicit mechanisms involved in sleep problems as well as the implementation of implicit interventions. Further, flaws in the study design have been highlighted with the lack of a control group being the most important downside. Still, implicit sleep interventions as well as the combination of explicit and implicit techniques pose a lot of potential for future research and the treatment of sleep problems.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
Link to this item:http://purl.utwente.nl/essays/86744
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