Child Psychiatry & Human Development

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 352–359 | Cite as

The Link Between Anxiety Severity and Irritability Among Anxious Youth: Evaluating the Mediating Role of Sleep Problems

  • Bridget Poznanski
  • Danielle Cornacchio
  • Stefany Coxe
  • Donna B. Pincus
  • Dana L. McMakin
  • Jonathan S. Comer
Original Article


Although recent studies have linked pediatric anxiety to irritability, research has yet to examine the mechanisms through which youth anxiety may be associated with irritability. Importantly, sleep related problems (SRPs) have been associated with both child anxiety and irritability, but research has not considered whether the link between youth anxiety and irritability may be accounted for by SRPs. The present study investigated whether SRPs mediated the relationship between anxiety severity and irritability in a large sample of treatment-seeking anxious youth (N = 435; ages 7–19 years, M = 12.7; 55.1% female). Anxiety severity, SRPs and irritability showed significant pairwise associations, and the indirect effect of youth anxiety severity on irritability, via SRPs, was positive and significant. The present analysis is the first to examine youth anxiety, irritability, and SPRs in a single model in a sample of anxious youth, and provides preliminary evidence that SRPs partially mediate links between child anxiety and irritability.


Anxiety Irritability Youth Sleep Mediation 



Funding for this work was provided by NIH (K23 MH090247, R01 MH068277).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Children and Families, Department of PsychologyFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, Department of Psychological and Brain StudiesBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, The Mental Health Interventions and Technology (MINT) Program, Center for Children and FamiliesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA

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