Parent-Reported Sleep Problems During Development

Parent-Reported Sleep Problems During Development and Self-reported Anxiety/Depression, Attention Problems, and Aggressive Behavior Later in Life
Alice M. Gregory, Jan Van der Ende, Thomas A. Willis, and Frank C. Verhulst
Source: Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Sleep problems are risk indicators of later emotional difficulties in childhood and adolescence and in adulthood, as well as across these developmental periods. Although most research, to date, has focused on symptoms of insomnia in association with emotional difficulties, there is emerging evidence that other sleep and sleep-related problems (referred to herein as sleep problems) may also be linked to subsequent difficulties that are not only emotional but also behavioral. Indeed, results of one study demonstrated that a composite of different sleep problems predicted symptoms of anxiety and depression, attention problems, and aggression later in life. For knowledge concerning links between sleep problems and later emotional and behavioral difficulties to be maximally beneficial to the physician, clarification of which particular sleep problems are associated with later difficulties is paramount. Toward this aim, this article documents associations between parental perceptions of 6 aspects of sleep (examined during development) and subsequent self-reported emotional and behavioral difficulties in a representative sample of 2076 participants from Zuid-Holland. This study is novel in allowing comparison of different types of sleep problems as predictors of different types of later behavioral and emotional problems. Based on previous research, associations between different aspects of sleep and different types of emotional and behavioral problems were expected, but hypotheses concerning specific patterns of association were considered premature.

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