Sleep disturbances and teacher ratings of school achievement and temperament in children

Oliviero Bruni, Luigi Ferini-Strambi, Paolo M. Russo, Massimo Antignani, Margherita Innocenzi, Paola Ottaviano, Donatella Valente, Salvatore Ottaviano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Backround and purpose: The current study examined the relationships between academic achievement, sleep, temperament and demographic-historical data in school-age children. Methods: Teachers were asked to fill out the teacher temperament questionnaire and a form for school achievement, while mothers filled out a demographic-historical form and the sleep disturbance scale for children (SDSC), a 26-item questionnaire that consisted of six factors: difficulty in initiating and maintaining sleep (DIMS), sleep breathing disorders (SBD), arousal disorders (DA), sleep-wake transition disorders (SWTD), disorders of excessive somnolence (DOES), sleep hyperhydrosis (SHY). From a sample of 380 school children, 264 (70%) were suitable for the analyses (141 M and 123 F aged 8-11 years, mean 9.6 years). A school achievement index (SAI) was derived, summing up four items (reading ability, reading comprehension, mathematics, executive ability) of the teacher form for school achievement. Results: SAI mean for the total sample was 11.1 (SD=2.8). A significant gender difference was found: females have higher SAI than males. The analysis of the demographic-historical form showed that only two factors appeared to affect SAI score: enuresis and the low educational level of the mother. The pattern of correlations showed that (a) the SAI was negatively related to the SDSC total score, in particular to DIMS and DOES sub-factors, and (b) the SAI was significantly and positively correlated with the temperamental traits of task-orientation and personal-social flexibility. A multiple stepwise regression analysis showed that the temperamental traits task-orientation and personal-social flexibility are the most predictive factors for SAI while the mother's educational level and the SDSC total score, although they contributed significantly to the prediction of SAI, accounted for only a small portion of variance. Conclusions: Temperament and sleep are important factors influencing school achievement, and their assessment could help to identify children at risk regarding school achievement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-48
Number of pages6
JournalSleep Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Children
  • School achievement
  • Sleep
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)
  • Ophthalmology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Neurology


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