Original Article

Child Sleep and Parent Depressive Symptoms

Authors: Rachael A. Herriman, MD, Adrienne Stolfi, PhD, MSPH, John M. Pascoe, MD, MPH


Objectives: Parent distress and child sleep problems have been associated in earlier research. The present study expands on past research on parent depressive symptoms and their child’s sleep. This study examines the relation between parents who screen positive for depressive symptoms and their perception of their child’s sleep.

Methods: Three hundred sixty-nine English-speaking parents of children ages 3 to 5 years (n = 134) or 6 to 11 years (n = 235) met this study’s inclusion criteria within the Southwestern Ohio Ambulatory Research Network (response rate 90%). The validated scales used were the RAND Depression Screener (DS), the Wisconsin Abbreviated Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (WCSHQ), and the Jenkins Sleep Questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression was used to determine adjusted odds ratios (AORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations with the WCSHQ.

Results: In total, 74.3% of the study children were White, 82.4% of respondents were the child’s mother, 75.1% had at least some college education, and 54.4% reported an annual income of <$50,000. In total, 54.4% of children were male and 53.8% had public health insurance. Approximately one-fourth of parents had a positive DS and nearly one-third reported sleep problems. Adjusting for child’s age and other factors, we found that parents with a positive (vs negative) DS had AOR 2.42 (95% CI 1.38–4.24) for higher WCSHQ scores. Children ages 3 to 5 years (vs 6–11 years) had AOR 2.48 (95% CI 1.56–3.95) for higher WCSHQ scores.

Conclusions: Parents with a positive DS were more likely to report sleep problems in their children after adjusting for the child’s age. These findings from a diverse sample of US Midwestern families at primary care venues corroborate previous research.
Posted in: Mental Health31

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