Sleep problems, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and domains of health-related quality of life: bidirectional associations from early childhood to early adolescence.
Year of Publication
2020 Jul 21
<p><strong>STUDY OBJECTIVE: </strong>To examine longitudinal, bidirectional associations among behavioral sleep problems, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and domains of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) from early childhood to adolescence in a population sample of Australian children.</p>
<p><strong>METHOD: </strong>Data were drawn from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), a national prospective cohort study with 4,983 children participating in the Kindergarten cohort. Data were collected when children were ages 4-5, 6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13 years. At each study wave, the primary parent (97% mothers) reported on behavioral child sleep problems, internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and HRQoL domains (psychosocial and physical). Cross-lagged structural equation models were used to evaluate bidirectional associations.</p>
<p><strong>RESULTS: </strong>At nearly every age, behavioral sleep problems were associated with worse subsequent psychosocial and physical HRQoL. Despite bidirectional associations between mental health and HRQoL at many waves, HRQoL domains more strongly predicted later internalizing symptoms, while externalizing symptoms more strongly predicted later HRQoL. Many of the bidirectional associations among sleep, mental health, and HRQoL were found earlier in childhood.</p>
<p><strong>CONCLUSION: </strong>Behavioral sleep problems may forecast later HRQoL psychosocial and physical impairments. Attending to both sleep problems and HRQoL could prevent the progression of internalizing conditions, while a focus on externalizing concerns could prevent the worsening of these symptoms, sleep problems and HRQoL, particularly during the transition to school.</p>