Sleep problems in anxious children : a behavioural family intervention : a dissertation.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Education in Child and Family Psychology
This study used a multiple baseline across participants design to examine the relationship between sleep and anxiety in school-aged children, the effectiveness of a behavioural family intervention, and the co-existence of depression with children presenting with sleep disturbances and anxiety symptoms. The families of five school-aged children, three females and two males that met the selection criteria as having problematic sleep and anxiety participated in the study. Interventions incorporating a combination of strategies from sleep and anxiety research were individually designed for each child. The hypotheses of the study were measured by the use of parent and child sleep diaries, the Child Behaviour Checklist (CBCL), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children (STAIC), and the Children's Depression Inventory (CDI) and were administered at baseline, post-intervention, and follow-up. This study provides preliminary results that indicate a relationship between sleep and anxiety may occur. The use of a behavioural family intervention in the treatment of these problems showed mixed results, appearing most successful in reducing participants' self-ratings of anxieties followed by reductions in parental presence and sleep onset latency. The co-occurrence of depression was indicated and symptoms decreased for those children whose sleep behaviours and anxiety problems improved. The limitations of this study and implications for future research and professional practice are discussed.