, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 157-163

Prospective Longitudinal Associations Between Persistent Sleep Problems in Childhood and Anxiety and Depression Disorders in Adulthood

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Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the associations between persistent childhood sleep problems and adulthood anxiety and depression. Parents of 943 children (52% male) participating in the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study provided information on their children’s sleep and internalizing problems at ages 5, 7, and 9 years. When the participants were 21 and 26 years, adult anxiety and depression were diagnosed using a standardized diagnostic interview. After controlling for childhood internalizing problems, sex, and socioeconomic status, persistent sleep problems in childhood predicted adulthood anxiety disorders (OR (95% CI) = 1.60 (1.05–2.45), p = .030) but not depressive disorders (OR (95% CI) = .99 (.63–1.56), p = .959). Persistent sleep problems in childhood may be an early risk indicator of anxiety in adulthood.