Childhood sleeping difficulties and depression in adulthood: The 1970 British Cohort Study.

Greene, G; Gregory, Alice M.; White, J and Fone, D. 2015. Childhood sleeping difficulties and depression in adulthood: The 1970 British Cohort Study. Journal of Sleep Research, 24(1), pp. 19-23. ISSN 0962-1105 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Sleeping difficulties in childhood have been associated with an increased risk of depression in adult life but existing studies have not accounted for comorbid maternal sleeping difficulties and depression. This study aimed to determine the association between childhood sleeping difficulties and depression in adulthood after adjusting for the potential confounding influences of maternal depression and sleeping difficulties. Data from the British Cohort Study 1970, a prospective birth cohort with 30 year of follow-up (1975 to 2005) were used. At 5 years of age, 7,437 parents of participants recorded information on whether their child had sleeping difficulties, the frequency of bed wetting, nightmares, maternal depression, and sleep difficulties. At 34 years of age participants reported whether they had received medical treatment for depression in the past year or not. Parental reports of severe sleeping difficulties at 5 years were associated in an increased risk of depression at age 34 years (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.2, 3.2) whereas moderate sleeping difficulties were not (OR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.9, 1.3). In conclusion, severe sleeping problems in childhood may be associated with increased susceptibility to depression in adult life.

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The work was undertaken at The Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement, a UK Clinical Research Collaboration Public Health Research: Centre of Excellence. Funding from the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, Economic and Social Research Council (RES-590-28-0005), Medical Research Council, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Wellcome Trust (WT087640MA), under the auspices of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, is gratefully acknowledged.


Sleeping difficulties, Children, Depression, Cohort study

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2 September 2014Published Online
1 February 2015Published

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Date Deposited:

25 Jul 2014 09:11

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:00

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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