Linking Sleep to Externalizing Behavioral Difficulties: A Longitudinal Psychometric Survey in a Cohort of Italian School-Age Children

Pietro Muratori, Danilo Menicucci, Elisa Lai, Floriana Battaglia, Lucio Bontempelli, Natasha Chericoni, Angelo Gemignani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We examined the longitudinal relationship between sleep problems and behavioral problems at primary school in Italian children. We recruited a school-based sample of 227 children (age range 6–10 years) in schools located in Pisa (Italy). Parents completed the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC), and teachers completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to evaluate children’s behavioral difficulties. We used a two-step robust regression approach to identify which aspects of sleep problems might affect children’s behavior at school. After removing socio-demographic effects, results indicated an association between an increase in sleep problems and the worsening of inattentive and hyperactive behavioral problems at school 1 year later. This association was particularly robust in children whose sleep problems had gotten worse over the year. We found no associations between child sleep problems and conduct problems in school settings. Schools may be a suitable arena in which to identify and prevent the development of severe externalizing behaviors through screening procedures and intervention for children’s sleep problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Primary Prevention
Volume40
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2019

Keywords

  • Conduct problems
  • Hyperactivity
  • Prevention
  • School
  • Sleep problems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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