The link between sleep problems in infancy and early childhood and attention problems at 5 and 14 years: Evidence from a birth cohort study

Early Hum Dev. 2010 Jul;86(7):419-24. Epub 2010 Jun 19

O’Callaghan FVAl Mamun AO’Callaghan MClavarino AWilliams GMBor WHeussler HNajman JM.

Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.


BACKGROUND: Little research has examined the associations between early sleep problems and attention problems over several developmental periods.

AIMS: To examine whether sleep problems in infancy and early childhood are independently related to attention difficulty at 5 and 14 years, and to the continuity of attention difficulties from 5 to 14 years.

STUDY DESIGN: The study was a prospective, population-based birth cohort study.

SUBJECTS: 7223 women who delivered a live, singleton child between 1981 and 1983 were recruited at the first antenatal visit. Of these, 4204 had complete information on all key measures.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Attention problems were assessed with items from the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL) and were classified as adolescent onset (i.e. problems at 14 but not at 5); early remitter (problems at 5, no problem at 14); and persistent (i.e. at both 5 and 14).

RESULTS: At 6 months, sleep problems ‘sometimes’ were associated with the early remitter group in boys. For sleep problems between 2 and 4 years of age, findings were generally similar for boys and girls with strong associations with adolescent attention. Sleep problems ‘often’ were independently associated with early remitter and persistent attention problems, and ‘sometimes’ with early remitter and adolescent onset attention problems.

CONCLUSIONS: Sleep problems in early childhood are an indicator of subsequent attention problems that may persist into adolescence. Whether these associations are causal requires further research, however their presence provides an opportunity for early intervention and monitoring.

2010. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Randy Clare

Randy Clare

Randy Clare brings to The Sleep and Respiratory Scholar more than 25 years of extensive knowledge and experience in the sleep and pulmonary function field. He has held numerous management positions throughout his career and has demonstrated a unique view of the alternate care diagnostic and therapy model. He is considered by many an expert in the use of oral appliances like Silent Nite, EMA and TAP to treat snoring and sleep apnea in the dental office. Mr. Clare's extensive sleep industry experience assists Sleepandrespiratoryscholar in providing current, relevant, data-proven information on sleep diagnostics and sleep therapies that are effective for the treatment of sleep disorders. Mr Clare is director of business development for Glidewell a dental solutions company his focus is on dental treatment for sleep disordered breathing.

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