Sluggish cognitive tempo and impairment: The role of lifestyle factors

Whitney L.M. Wood, Lawrence J. Lewandowski, Benjamin J. Lovett, Kevin Antshel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to assess whether sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) behaviors were associated with a unique impairment profile for college students after accounting for lifestyle (sleep, substance use, health) and mental health factors (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], anxiety, depression). A general sample of 910 undergraduate students completed several measures via online survey. Most participants were female (64.9%) and were Caucasian (60.7%), with an average age of 19.41 years. Students who endorsed elevated SCT behaviors reported significantly more impairment compared to students who reported low levels of SCT behaviors. However, regression analyses suggested that SCT behaviors do not account for significant amounts of unique impairment after controlling for related mental health (ADHD, anxiety, depression) and lifestyle variables (sleep, health, substance use). The lack of impairment associated uniquely with SCT behaviors suggests that SCT may serve as a construct underlying many variables, rather than standing independently as a distinct disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1188
Number of pages18
JournalPsychology in the Schools
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2020


  • ADHD
  • impairment
  • internalizing symptoms
  • sluggish cognitive tempo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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