Sleep problems in childhood predict neuropsychological functioning in adolescence.
Our goal was to examine the association between parent-rated sleep problems during childhood and neuropsychological functioning during adolescence.
Participants and methods
Longitudinal prospective data on an entire birth cohort from Dunedin, New Zealand, were obtained. One thousand thirty-seven children were enrolled in the study (52% male). Parents reported on sleep problems when the study members were 5, 7, and 9 years of age. Neuropsychological functioning was assessed by using 7 tests when the participants were 13 years of age.
After adjusting for gender and socioeconomic status, persistent sleep problems during childhood predicted scores on 2 neuropsychological tests: the copy score of the Rey-Osterrieth Complex Figure Test and 2 measures of performance on the Halstead Trail Making Test. These results were substantively replicated when sleep was assessed at the 5- and 9-year (but not 7-year) assessments separately.
Sleep problems during childhood may be associated with certain aspects of neuropsychological functioning during adolescence. This adds to the growing body of literature suggesting that childhood sleep problems may be a risk indicator of later difficulties.
Gregory, AM; Caspi, A; Moffitt, TE; Poulton, R
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