Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 50, Issue 5, pp 746–755 | Cite as

Behavioral Sleep-Related Problems in Clinically Anxious Children: A Parent-Report Diary Study

  • Therese E. Price
  • Lara J. Farrell
  • Caroline L. Donovan
  • Allison M. WatersEmail author
Original Article


Anxiety disorders and behavioral sleep-related problems (SRPs) frequently co-occur during childhood. However, few studies have used the recommended method of a sleep-diary. The present study examined parental perceptions of behavioral SRPs in anxious compared to non-anxious children using a sleep-diary. Parents of 22 clinically anxious children and 29 healthy controls (aged 6–13 years) completed a 7-day sleep-diary of their child’s behavioral SRPs. Compared to non-anxious peers, anxious children were rated by parents as more often (a) having a negative mood before bed, (b) delaying bed, (c) requiring parental assistance during the night, especially on weeknights, (d) having difficulty waking on their own the next morning, (e) falling back to sleep after morning waking, and (f) waking in a negative mood. There were no significant group differences in sleep onset latency or sleep duration, and behavioral SRPs of anxious children did not negatively affect their functioning or that of their parents the next day based on parent report. Parents of anxious children are more likely to perceive their children as engaging in behavioral SRPs compared to parents of non-anxious children.


Anxiety Sleep-related problems Children Parent-report sleep-diary 



The authors thank Natalie Marshall for assistance with some of the data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Therese E. Price
    • 1
  • Lara J. Farrell
    • 1
  • Caroline L. Donovan
    • 1
  • Allison M. Waters
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.School of Applied PsychologyGriffith UniversityBrisbaneAustralia

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