Westfield State University faculty and alumni contribute to published research on how social media use affects sleep quality and college athlete performance
the Sports Medicine Clinical Journal published a Westfield State University study on how social media influences sleep quality and student athlete performance.
Paul Cacolice, Ph.D., assistant professor of sports medicine and human performance at Westfield State; Former student Danielle Hunt ’17, director of clinical research at Boston Children’s Hospital, and four professional colleagues conducted the research, which appears in the published article, “Association of Social Media Use on Sleep Quality and Performance Among Collegiate Athletes” . Their results revealed that frequent use of social media negatively impacts the quality of sleep and can adversely affect the competitive performance of college athletes.
The topic of social media has just started to spread into the realm of academic research, so information about its influence on student-athletes is minimal, according to Cacolice.
“University student-athletes report higher levels of stress and anxiety than non-student-athletes, so this research aims to understand the relationship between how social media affects this high-risk population and the potentially effects. profound effects they can have on health and performance, “he said.
The study provided partnership opportunities for the University.
“We are grateful to work directly with the team in the Sports Medicine Division at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention,” said Marlee Berg-Haryasz, Assistant Director of Athletics. of Westfield State for student-athlete welfare, recruitment and retention and an assistant coach for the University’s cross-country and track teams. “Supporting and working with former student Danielle Hunt has been very rewarding and has set an example for our student-athletes. ”
Have data that directly reflects the performance of the university’s student-athletes has proven to be invaluable, according to Berg-Haryasz.
“It allowed our student-athletes to see how their daily habits can affect their quality of sleep, which is vital for recovery,” she said. “Research results play a role in providing resources for our coaches and administration so that we can properly reflect programming and have conversations as needed about the importance of sleep.”
Using research, new strategies can be developed to minimize the use of social media platforms for individual student-athletes and teams to improve overall health, academic and athletic performance. This is especially important at Westfield State, because of the excellent quality of the university reputation for successfully balancing academic and athletic prowess among its peer institutions.
Over the past decade, Westfield State has placed more student-athletes on the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) Fully academic team list as its conference peers, while also winning five of the last six Howard C. Smith Cups, awarded annually to an institution that excels in the league’s eight championship sports.
Cacolice and Hunt believe the study results will help Westfield State keep those results high. The information they have learned so far has been shared with University coaches and student-athletes for immediate application. They also hope that this research will inspire further interdisciplinary studies on social media, such as exploring its long-term effects (i.e. stress) and time spent on platforms.
Further investigations to determine the reason or motives for the heavy use of social media by college students and student-athletes are underway, with a second manuscript on the effects of sleep and social media in progress. review and expected to be published in 2022.
For more information, access this Westfield State research on the influence of social media on sleep.