Sleep problems and mental health in primary school new entrants: Cross-sectional community-based study

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health, 05/25/2012

Quach J et al. – In new school entrants, sleep problems are common and associated with poorer child mental health, health–related quality of life and parent mental health. Future research needs to determine if systematically addressing sleep problems improves these outcomes.

Methods

  • They conducted a cross-sectional community-based study at 22 primary schools in Melbourne, Australia.
  • One thousand five hundred and twelve (70%) parents of children in the first 6 months of the child's first year of primary school took part.
  • Parent report of child sleep problems (none, mild, and moderate/severe); sleep difficulties; pre-bedtime activities (television in bedroom, television or electronic games before bedtime, television or electronic games >2 h/day) and caffeine intake; child mental health (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire), health-related quality of life (Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory); and parent mental health (Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21).

Results

  • 38.6% of children had a parent-reported sleep problem (27.9% mild, 10.8% moderate/severe).
  • Sleep problems were characterised by problematic sleep difficulties but not poor sleep hygiene practices.
  • Moderate/severe sleep problems were associated with poorer child mental health (mean difference -0.8; 95% confidence interval, health-related quality of life and parent mental health.

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