Examining sleep and mood in parents of children with sleep disturbances

Prerna Varma, Russell Conduit, Moira Junge, Melinda L. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: The current study examined sleep and mood associations in parents of children with sleep disturbances across a sample of typically developing children and children with neurodevelopmental disorders. The mediating effect of children’s sleep on the relationship between parents’ sleep and mood was also assessed. The study explored differences in parents’ sleep based on whether 1) the child had a sleep disturbance, and 2) the child was typically developing or had a neurodevelopmental disorder. Methods: A total of 293 parents of children aged 2–12 years completed an online questionnaire. Parental sleep was examined using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, the Glasgow Sleep Effort Scale and the Pre-sleep Arousal Scale, and mood was assessed using the Profile of Mood States-short form. Measures for children included the Child’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Results: Across the overall sample, children’s sleep disturbances were associated with parents’ sleep disturbances, accounting for 22% of the change in parental sleep quality. Children’s sleep partially mediated parents’ sleep and mood. Significant differences were observed for sleep and mood outcomes in parents of children with sleep disturbances (CSHQ scores ≥41). However, no significant differences were reported for children’s sleep disturbances and parents’ sleep quality based on whether the child was typically developing or had a neurodevelopmental disorder. Conclusion: Parents of children with sleep disturbances experience poor sleep and high presleep arousal, indicative of insomnia. Given that these parents experience cognitive arousal and insomnia, it is recommended that parents’ sleep problems are addressed and treated in clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-874
Number of pages10
JournalNature and Science of Sleep
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2020


  • Children sleep
  • Family
  • Mother's sleep
  • Parent sleep
  • Sleep quality

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