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Study finds genetic link between sleep disorders and depression in young children
Date:1/31/2009

nces. Shared environmental influences create similarities among individual family members, and can therefore be estimated by calculating the similarity between identical twins that is not due to genetic influences. Non-shared environmental influences individualize family members, and can therefore be estimated by examining the associations between monozygotic (MZ) twin pairs; if there is not a perfect correlation between MZ twins, it can be assumed that non-shared environmental influence are playing a role.

Data were collected from 300 twin pairs born in England and Wales between 1994 and 1996. Anxiety was examined at age 7 using the parent-report Anxiety Related Behaviors Questionnaire (ARBQ), a 21-item scale reflecting commonly assessed anxiety-related behaviors in young children (including general distress, separation anxiety, shyness, inhibition and fears). Two hundred forty-seven twin pairs scored highly on parent-reported anxiety at age seven; fifty-three control twin pairs also were selected to ensure full coverage of the full range of scores on test measures.

Parents reported on their 8-year-old children's sleep problems using the abbreviated version of the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ). Eight aspects of commonly reported childhood sleep problems were analyzed, including bedtime resistance, sleep-onset delay, sleep duration, sleep anxiety, night waking, parasomnias, sleep-disordered breathing and daytime sleepiness.

Depressive symptoms were examined in the 8-year-old twins through the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI), a 27-item self-report questionnaire that examines affective, cognitive and behavioral signs of depression. Approximately two years later when the twins were 10 years old, data on sleep problems and depression were collected again from 250 of the twin pairs.

The authors argue that although childhood sleep problems have only a small influence on later depression, these issues should be give
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Contact: Kelly Wagner
kwagner@aasmnet.org
708-492-0930
American Academy of Sleep Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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