Application of the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC) in preschool age

Domenico M. Romeo, Oliviero Bruni, Claudia Brogna, Raffaele Ferri, Carmen Galluccio, Valentina De Clemente, Monica Di Jorio, Michela Quintiliani, Daniela Ricci, Eugenio Mercuri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC) was originally validated on a sample of healthy children aged 6-16 years, investigating the occurrence of sleep disorders during the previous 6 months. Aims: The aim of this new study was to assess the psychometric properties of the SDSC in an Italian population of preschool children. Methods: The SDSC was distributed to the primary caregivers of children recruited via nurseries. Letters describing the study design and requesting the co-operation of the caregivers (parents) and co-signed by the investigators and by the head teacher were distributed with the questionnaire and collected by the teachers. Reliability analysis for evaluating internal consistency and item-total correlation coefficients, and factor analysis were performed. Results: During a 12-months study period, 601 questionnaires from healthy preschool age children (range 3-6 years) were collected. SDSC in preschool children showed a good level of internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha: 0.83) and six factors were derived from the factor analysis by using the principal component method of extraction and rotated with the varimax method: Parasomnias, Difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep, Sleep disordered breathing, Disorders of excessive somnolence, Sleep hyperhydrosis and Non-restorative Sleep. Conclusions: The statistical analysis, the internal consistency and the factor analysis support the use of SDSC as an evaluation tool even at preschool age. A different factorial structure from the original SDSC was found due to a different prevalence of the sleep disturbances in younger children, but with similar cut-off total SDSC score.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Paediatric Neurology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


  • Children
  • Preschool
  • Questionnaire
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disorders

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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