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Deteriorated Sleep Quality Does Not Explain the Negative Impact of Smartphone Use on Academic Performance


  • Amez, Simon

    (Ghent University)

  • Vujic, Suncica

    (University of Antwerp)

  • Abrath, Margo

    (University of Antwerp)

  • Baert, Stijn

    (Ghent University)


University students' smartphone use has recently been shown to negatively affect their academic performance. Surprisingly, research testing the empirical validity of potential mechanisms underlying this relationship is very limited. In particular, indirect effects of negative health consequences due to heavy smartphone use have never been investigated. To fill this gap, we investigate, for the first time, whether deteriorated sleep quality drives the negative impact on academic performance. To this end, we examine longitudinal data on 1,635 students at two major Belgian universities. Based on a combination of a random effects approach and seemingly unrelated regression, we find no statistically significant mediating effect of sleep quality in the relationship between smartphone use and academic performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Amez, Simon & Vujic, Suncica & Abrath, Margo & Baert, Stijn, 2021. "Deteriorated Sleep Quality Does Not Explain the Negative Impact of Smartphone Use on Academic Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 14547, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp14547

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Simon Amez & Stijn Baert, 2019. "Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: a Literature Review," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 19/982, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. Stijn Baert & Sunčica Vujić & Simon Amez & Matteo Claeskens & Thomas Daman & Arno Maeckelberghe & Eddy Omey & Lieven De Marez, 2020. "Smartphone Use and Academic Performance: Correlation or Causal Relationship?," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 73(1), pages 22-46, February.
    3. Atanu Sengupta & Sanjoy De, 2020. "Review of Literature," India Studies in Business and Economics, in: Assessing Performance of Banks in India Fifty Years After Nationalization, chapter 0, pages 15-30, Springer.
    4. A. Colin Cameron & Pravin K. Trivedi, 2010. "Microeconometrics Using Stata, Revised Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number musr, March.
    5. Baert, Stijn & Omey, Eddy & Verhaest, Dieter & Vermeir, Aurélie, 2015. "Mister Sandman, bring me good marks! On the relationship between sleep quality and academic achievement," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 91-98.
    6. Exelmans, Liese & Van den Bulck, Jan, 2016. "Bedtime mobile phone use and sleep in adults," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 93-101.
    7. Andrew Bell & Malcolm Fairbrother & Kelvyn Jones, 2019. "Fixed and random effects models: making an informed choice," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 53(2), pages 1051-1074, March.
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    More about this item


    smartphone use; academic performance; sleep quality; mediation analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I21 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Analysis of Education
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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