Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 156–167 | Cite as

Pre-Sleep Arousal and Sleep Problems of Anxiety-Disordered Youth

  • Candice A. Alfano
  • Armando A. Pina
  • Argero A. Zerr
  • Ian K. Villalta
Original Article


The current study examined sleep problems and pre-sleep arousal among 52 anxious children and adolescents, aged 7–14 years, in relation to age, sex, ethnicity, and primary anxiety disorder. Assessment included structured diagnostic interviews and parent and child completed measures of sleep problems and pre-sleep arousal. Overall, 85% of parents reported clinically-significant child sleep problems, whereas 54% of youth reported trouble sleeping. Young children, those with primary generalized anxiety disorder, and Latino youth experienced the greatest levels of sleep disturbance. Additionally, greater levels of pre-sleep cognitive rather than somatic arousal were found and pre-sleep thoughts were associated with decreased total sleep duration and greater sleep problems. Findings suggest that attention to sleep should be part of assessment procedures for anxious children in both research and clinical settings.


Child Adolescent Anxiety disorders Sleep Pre-sleep arousal 



This work was supported in part by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (K23MH081188) awarded to the first author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Candice A. Alfano
    • 1
  • Armando A. Pina
    • 2
  • Argero A. Zerr
    • 2
  • Ian K. Villalta
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and PsychologyChildren’s National Medical CenterWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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