Do Parent ADHD Symptoms Influence Sleep and Sleep Habits of Children with ADHD? A Pilot Study
An estimated 1 in every 2 children diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) also has insomnia, which can compound problems with school performance, mood, family relationships, and quality of life. Children with ADHD may also have a parent with ADHD and difficulty maintaining routines and boundaries needed for healthy sleep habits. The purpose of this cross-sectional pilot study was to examine effect sizes of relationships between sleep habits and sleep in children diagnosed with ADHD and their parents' ADHD symptoms. A convenience sample of 27 school-age children with a documented ADHD diagnosis was recruited from public and private schools and pediatric practices in Tennessee, along with 24 mothers and 19 fathers. Parents completed the Children's Sleep Hygiene Scale, the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire, and the Barkley Adult ADHD Rating Scale. Twenty-six child participants completed 7 days and nights of actigraphy to measure sleep patterns objectively. Descriptive statistics, bi-variate correlation, and simple linear regression were conducted to determine effect sizes for relationships between child sleep, sleep hygiene, and both parents' ADHD symptoms. Relationships between child sleep hygiene, sleep onset latency, and night wakings and ADHD symptoms in one or both parents had clinically meaningful effect sizes. Healthy sleep habits and adequate sleep may be more difficult to support in children with an ADHD diagnosis whose parents have ADHD symptoms. Findings from this study will inform a larger study whose aim is to develop sleep education tools tailored for families affected by ADHD.
Laura Gray, Whitney Loring, Beth A. Malow, Erica Pryor, Anne Turner-Henson, and Marti Rice