The clinical presentation of childhood partial arousal parasomnias

Mehlenbeck, Spirito, Owens, Boergers
Sleep Medicine 2000 October 1, 1 (4): 307-312
Objectives: The goal of the current study was to compare the sleep characteristics of children diagnosed with a partial arousal parasomnia to a community sample and further, to compare children diagnosed with sleep terrors to those diagnosed with sleepwalking.Background: Many children experience frightened awakenings, with up to 15% meeting criteria for a parasomnia. Despite this, very little empirical data exists examining parasomnias in childhood.Method: The parents of children (between 2 and 12 years of age) referred to a pediatric sleep disorders clinic completed the Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSH) on their child. The group meeting criteria for partial parasomnia was then matched with a community sample to identify differences in sleep characteristics between children with parasomnias and a normative sample.Results: Children with parasomnias had higher rates of bedtime resistance, sleep onset delay, night waking, and reduced sleep duration than a matched community sample. Sleepwalkers had more sleep onset problems than children with sleep terrors. Almost one quarter of sleepwalkers between 3 and 12 years of age reported nocturnal enuresis.Conclusions: Children with partial arousal parasomnias do have slightly more disturbed sleep than community controls.

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