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J Genet Psychol. 2008 Sep;169(3):245-59. doi: 10.3200/GNTP.169.3.245-260.

Sleep problems of parents of typically developing children and parents of children with autism.

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California State University, San Bernardino, Office of Institutional Research, San Bernardino, CA 92407, USA.


Few researchers have investigated the relation of children's sleep problems to their parents' sleep problems. Children with autism have been reported to evidence greater sleep problems than do typically developing children (C. D. Hoffman, D. P. Sweeney, J. E. Gilliam, & M. C. Lopez-Wagner, 2006; P. G. William, L. L. Sears, & A. Allard, 2004). In the present study, parents (N = 106) of children independently diagnosed with autism (4-16 years of age; M= 8.20 years, SD = 2.69 years) reported greater sleep problems for themselves than did parents (N = 168) of typically developing children (4-15 years of age; M = 8.62 years, SD = 3.28 years). Children's sleep problems were related to parents' sleep problems for both groups; in the autism group, children's level of symptomatology was not related to their parents' sleep. The authors suggest areas for further research on the sleep problems of children and their parents, the potential interaction of these problems with children's symptomatic behavior, and the relations of these factors to child, parent, and family functioning.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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