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Associations between Sleep Problems and Anxiety in Youth

By Alice M. Gregory, Megan R. Crawford, Jessica E. Holland and Thomas A. Willis


Most of us are able to recall sleepless nights during periods of heightened anxiety, and the associations between sleep and anxiety are sufficiently well established to be acknowledged in the DSM-IV (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Indeed, sleeprelated difficulties are included in the diagnostic criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, acute stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. In contrast to the wealth of literature highlighting associations between sleep problems and anxiety in adults, less is known about these associations in children and adolescents. \ud \ud It is important to understand associations between disorders as there is evidence to suggest that co-occurring difficulties may result in greater impairment than those occurring alone. For example, a study focusing upon depression found that individuals with co-occurring disorders were more likely to demonstrate suicidal behaviour as compared to those with pure depression (Rohde et al., 1991). Furthermore, focusing upon children is important as various difficulties, including anxiety, may appear early in life and persist into adulthood (Kim- Cohen et al., 2003). This article summarises some key findings with regards to the associations between sleep problems and anxiety in youth and proposes possible clinical implications of this research

Publisher: Child and Adolescent Anxiety SIG
Year: 2008
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