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Sleep and behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorder

TitleSleep and behavioral problems in children with autism spectrum disorder
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsMazurek, MO, Sohl, KA
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders

Lead Author
Micah Mazurek

Study Aims/Objectives
To determine whether trouble sleeping is related to behavior problems in children with ASD.

Methods - Sample, Procedure, Study Measures, Analysis
The study included 81 children with ASD between the ages of 3 and 18. Parents completed questionnaires about their children’s sleep patterns and behavioral problems (including physical aggression, hostility, inattention, and hyperactivity). The researchers used statistical analysis to understand the relationships between sleep and behavioral problems and to determine which sleep problems were mostly closely related to specific behavior problems.

Results – Main Finding(s)
Getting less sleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and unusual sleep behaviors were highly related to all types of behavior problems. Sleep anxiety was associated with irritability and hyperactivity, and daytime sleepiness was associated with irritability. Night awakenings were strongly associated with physical aggression, inattention, and hyperactivity, even after accounting for other variables.

Conclusion – Summary Statement
Sleep problems were found to be related to physical aggression, irritability, inattention, and hyperactivity. Children who often woke up in the middle of the night more consistently showed daytime behavioral problems regardless of sex, age, or other sleep problems.

PubMed ID26823076
Summary category: