Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 157–163 | Cite as

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

  • Alice M. GregoryEmail author
  • Avshalom Caspi
  • Thalia C. Eley
  • Terrie E. Moffitt
  • Thomas G. O’Connor
  • Richie Poulton


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.


sleep problems anxiety depression 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice M. Gregory
    • 1
    Email author
  • Avshalom Caspi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thalia C. Eley
    • 1
  • Terrie E. Moffitt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas G. O’Connor
    • 3
  • Richie Poulton
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of PsychiatryKing’s College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.University of Wisconsin-MadisonMadison
  3. 3.University of Rochester
  4. 4.University of OtagoNew Zealand

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