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J Can Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2018 Aug;27(3):175-181. Epub 2018 Jul 1.

Sleep-Related Issues in Children and Adolescents Presenting at Community Mental Health Clinics.

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IWK Health Centre, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
British Columbia Ministry of Child and Family Development, Child and Youth Mental Health, British Columbia.


in English, French


To examine sleep-related issues in children and adolescents presenting at community clinics with diverse mental health concerns using a brief sleep questionnaire and to examine whether sleep issues would improve with mental health interventions.


Study 1: A questionnaire-based study that used a modified version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index to measure sleep-related issues in youth aged 4-18 years presenting at community mental health clinics. Study 2: A pre/post-treatment study that used the same questionnaire to measure changes in sleep-related issues in youth aged 4-19 years participating in a group mental health intervention. The main outcome measure for both studies was global sleep score.


Using the recommended cut-off score of 5, 31% of children aged 4-11 years and 71% of adolescents aged 12-18 years had problematic sleep. Sleep-related issues did not differ by presenting mental health concern. The group intervention was associated with improved sleep for parent-reported child sleep and self-reported adolescent sleep, but not for parent-reported adolescent sleep.


Problematic sleep is very common in youth with mental health concerns. More research is needed to understand best practices for assessment and treatment of sleep issues that are comorbid with mental health issues in children and adolescents.


adolescence; childhood; mental health; sleep problems


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