This study described the relationship between amount of sleep and behavior problems among preschoolers. Participants were 510 children aged 2 to 5 years who were enrolled through 68 private pediatric practices. Parents reported on the amount of sleep their child obtained at night and in 24-hour periods. With demographic variables controlled, regression models were used to determine whether sleep was associated with behavior problems. The relationship between less sleep at night and the presence of a DSM-III-R psychiatric diagnosis was significant (odds ratio = 1.23, p = .026). Less night sleep (p < .0001) and less sleep in a 24-hour period (p < .004) were associated with increased total behavior problems on the Child Behavior Checklist; less night sleep (p < .0002) and less 24-hour sleep (p < .004) were also associated with more externalizing problems on that measure. Further research is needed to ascertain whether sleep is playing a causal role in the increase of behavior problems.
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School (LAVIGNE, AREND, ROSENBAUM, SMITH)
Department of Pediatrics, Northwestern University Medical School (WEISSBLUTH)
Department of Pediatrics, Children's Memorial Hospital and Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Illinois (BINNS, CHRISTOFFEL)
Address for reprints: John V. Lavigne, Ph.D., Children's Memorial Hospital, 2300 Children's Plaza (#10), Chicago, IL 60614; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Acknowledgment. Funding for this study was provided through the National Institute of Mental Health, RO1-46089.