Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Childrens' Sleep Problems Linked to Behavioral, Emotional Problems

Behavioral and emotional problems in young children may be the result of sleep disordered breathing (SDB) problems that begin as early as infancy. In a large population-based study, Karen Bonuck, Ph.D., of Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and colleagues assessed parents' reports of children's snoring, mouth breathing, and apnea beginning at age 6 months and then periodically until age 69 months, as well as parents' responses to the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire when the child was 4 and 7 years old.

In a finding with screening and treatment implications, they discovered that at age 4, the children with SDB had 40 percent more behavioral difficulties than their peers, and at age 7 had 60 percent more behavioral problems, which included hyperactivity and problems with conduct and peer interactions. The researchers also found a strong link between SDB and emotional problems. Even when the sleep problems peaked at 18 months and then resolved, the risk of behavioral problems at age 7 was elevated, indicating the crucial nature of intervening early when early childhood sleep problems are identified.

Read about treatment of childhood sleep disorders in Psychiatric News

(image: hunta/Shutterstock.com)


The content of Psychiatric News does not necessarily reflect the views of APA or the editors. Unless so stated, neither Psychiatric News nor APA guarantees, warrants, or endorses information or advertising in this newspaper. Clinical opinions are not peer reviewed and thus should be independently verified.