Pubertal Development, Sleep Problems, and Alcohol Use: A Commentary


Reprint requests: Maria M. Wong, Department of Psychology, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8112;


Background:  This commentary discussed the study conducted by Pieters et al. (2010 Alcohol Clin Exp Res in press) on the relationships among puberty dependent, sleep regulation, and alcohol use in adolescents. The goal of this commentary is to underscore the significance of the study and discuss some of the unaddressed questions in the area.

Methods:  The significance of the study and unaddressed questions are discussed.

Results:  Pieters et al. (2010 Alcohol Clin Exp Res in press) provided valuable data to understanding the relationships among puberty, sleep problems, and alcohol use. Questions regarding the relationship between puberty and sleep problems, the possible reciprocal relationships among circadian phase preference, sleep problems and alcohol use, mediators and moderators of such relationships, as well as potential gender differences on these relationships were discussed.

Conclusions:  To understand the relationships among pubertal development, sleep problems, and alcohol use, researchers need to be aware of the physiological changes that take place in puberty, as well as the psychosocial factors that are associated with such changes. Important mediators and moderators of the relationships among these constructs also need to be identified. Longitudinal design may be useful in this regard.