Sleep problems predict and are predicted by generalized anxiety/depression and oppositional defiant disorder.
OBJECTIVE: We tested whether sleep problems co-occur with, precede, and/or follow common psychiatric disorders during childhood and adolescence. We also clarified the role of comorbidity and tested for specificity of associations among sleep problems and psychiatric disorders. METHOD: Data came from the Great Smoky Mountains Study, a representative population sample of 1,420 children, assessed 4 to 7 times per person between ages 9 and 16 years for major Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) disorders and sleep problems. Sleep-related symptoms were removed from diagnostic criteria when applicable. RESULTS: Sleep problems during childhood and adolescence were common, with restless sleep and difficulty falling asleep being the most common symptoms. Cross-sectional analyses showed that sleep problems co-occurred with many psychiatric disorders. Longitudinal analyses revealed that sleep problems predicted increases in the prevalence of later generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and high GAD/depression symptoms, and oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). In turn, GAD and/or depression and ODD predicted increases in sleep problems over time. CONCLUSIONS: Sleep problems both predict and are predicted by a diagnostic cluster that includes ODD, GAD, and depression. Screening children for sleep problems could offer promising opportunities for reducing the burden of mental illness during the early life course.
Shanahan, L; Copeland, WE; Angold, A; Bondy, CL; Costello, EJ
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