Objective sleep in pediatric anxiety disorders and major depressive disorder

Forbes, Erika E.; Bertocci, Michele A.; Gregory, Alice M.; Ryan, Neal D.; Axelson, David A.; Birmaher, Boris and Dahl, Ronald E.. 2008. Objective sleep in pediatric anxiety disorders and major depressive disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 47(2), pp. 148-155. ISSN 08908567 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

To examine objective and subjective sleep problems in early-onset anxiety and depression.

Children and adolescents (46% female, ages 7 to 17 years) with anxiety disorders (n = 24), major depressive disorder (MDD) without comorbid anxiety disorders (n = 128), or no history of psychiatric disorder (n = 101) spent two consecutive nights in a sleep laboratory and completed self-reports of sleep quality.

On objective measures, the anxiety group exhibited more awakenings than the MDD group, less slow-wave sleep than the control or MDD group, and greater night 2 sleep latency than the MDD or control group. The anxiety group exhibited no decrease in rapid eye movement latency from the first night to the second. The MDD group exhibited less time awake than the control group and less stage 1 sleep than the anxiety or control group. On subjective measures, young people with anxiety reported greater sleep latency on the second night and no decrease in sleep latency. Age was covaried in analyses.

Findings provide objective and subjective evidence of sleep disturbance in children and adolescents with anxiety disorders and replicate findings of limited objective sleep disturbance in those with MDD. Sleep problems are an important consideration when treating young people with anxiety.

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February 2008Published

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11 Mar 2011 10:14

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:19

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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