Sleep problems predict and are predicted by generalized anxiety/depression and oppositional defiant disorder.
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.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.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.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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