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Preschool family irregularity and the development of sleep problems in childhood: a longitudinal study

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  • Maria Elisabeth Koopman-Verhoeff
  • Fadila Serdarevic
  • Desana Kocevska
  • F Fenne Bodrij
  • Viara R Mileva-Seitz
  • Irwin Reiss
  • Manon H J Hillegers
  • Henning Tiemeier
  • Charlotte A M Cecil
  • Frank C Verhulst
  • Maartje P C M Luijk
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Background
Previous studies have shown that poor family environments are related to more sleep problems; however, little is known about how family irregularity in early life affects the development of sleep problems over childhood using objective sleep measures. The current study tests the hypothesis that early family irregularity contributes to the development of sleep problems.

Methods
This population‐based study comprises 5,443 children from the Generation R Study. Family irregularity was measured with seven maternal‐reported questions on family routines when children were 2 and 4 years old. Mothers reported on sleep problems at child age 3, 6, and 10 years, whereas children completed questionnaires on sleep problems at age 10. Additionally, we used tri‐axial wrist accelerometers for five nights in 851 children (mean age 11.7 years) to assess sleep objectively.

Results
Family irregularity was associated with more mother‐ and child‐reported sleep problems at ages 3, 6, and 10 years as well as with a shorter sleep duration and later objective sleep onset, but not with sleep efficiency or waking time. The association between family irregularity and multi‐informant subjective sleep problems at age 10 years was mediated by mother‐reported child psychopathology at age 6 years.

Conclusions
Our findings show a long‐term robust association of preschool family irregularity with more sleep problems during childhood as well as shorter sleep duration and later sleep onset as measured objectively with actigraphy. In part, these sleep problems were associated with family irregularity by way of child psychopathology. These findings suggest that interventions improving preschool family irregularity, which are targeted to reduce child psychopathology, may also impact the development of sleep problems beneficially.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Vol/bind60
Udgave nummer8
Sider (fra-til)857-865
Antal sider9
ISSN0021-9630
DOI
StatusUdgivet - aug. 2019

Bibliografisk note

© 2019 The Authors. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health.

ID: 57349487