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PLOS ONE  2013 

Identifying Adolescent Sleep Problems

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0075301

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Objectives To examine the efficacy of self-report and parental report of adolescent sleep problems and compare these findings to the incidence of adolescents who fulfill clinical criteria for a sleep problem. Sleep and daytime functioning factors that predict adolescents’ self-identification of a sleep problem will also be examined. Method 308 adolescents (aged 13–17 years) from eight socioeconomically diverse South Australian high schools participated in this study. Participants completed a survey battery during class time, followed by a 7-day Sleep Diary and the Flinders Fatigue Scale completed on the final day of the study. Parents completed a Sleep, Medical, Education and Family History Survey. Results The percentage of adolescents fulfilling one or more of the criteria for a sleep problem was inordinately high at 66%. Adolescent self-reporting a sleep problem was significantly lower than the adolescents who had one or more of the clinical criteria for a sleep problem (23.1% vs. 66.6%; χ2 = 17.46, p<.001). Parental report of their adolescent having a sleep problem was significantly lower than adolescent self-report (14.3% vs. 21.1%, p<.001). Adolescents who reported unrefreshing sleep were 4.81 times more likely to report a sleep problem. For every hour that bedtime was delayed, the odds of self-reporting a sleep problem increased by 1.91 times, while each additional 10 minutes taken to fall asleep increased the odds 1.40 times. Conclusion While many adolescents were found to have sleep patterns indicative of a sleep problem, only a third of this number self-identify having a sleep problem, while only a sixth of this number are indicated by parental report. This study highlights important features to target in future sleep education and intervention strategies for both adolescents and parents.


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