Parent-Reported Psychological and Sleep Problems in a Preschool-Aged Community Sample: Prevalence of Sleep Problems in Children with and without Emotional/Behavioural Problems
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Objective : To examine (a) the prevalence of sleep problems among 4-year-olds in the general population, (b) the prevalence of sleep problems among children with emotional and/or behavioural problems, and (c) whether specific sleep problems are associated with particular emotional/behavioural problems. Method: Using The Preschool Age Psychiatric Assessment (PAPA) , data about sleep and emotional/behavioural problems was obtained from 727 parents of 4-year-olds, recruited for a large-scale research project, Trondhei m Early Secure Study (TESS). Results: 31, 7 % of the 4-year-olds had one or more sleep problems, of which bedtime resistance and sleep terror were the most prevalent. Significantly more children with emotional/behavioural problems had sleep difficulties, compared to children without such problems. The results indicate that children with different types of psychiatric problems may have dissimilar sleep problems. Anxiety was associated with primary insomnia and nightmares; depression with sleep terror, bedtime resistance, difficulty initiating sleep and nightmares; behaviour problems with bedtime resistance, sleep terror and restless sleep; and ADHD was associated with sleep terror, restless sleep, primary insomnia and nightmares. Nightmares and sleep terror were prevalent across all the disorder groups. Conclusion: Sleep problems are prevalent among 4-year-olds, especially in children with symptoms of psychiatric disorders. Certain sleep problems seem to be more strongly associated with some psychological problems than others.