Children's Sleep Comic: development of a new diagnostic tool for children with sleep disorders

Barbara Schwerdtle, Julia Kanis, Lena Kahl, Andrea Kübler, Angelika A Schlarb
Nature and Science of Sleep 2012, 4: 97-102

BACKGROUND: A solid diagnosis of sleep disorders in children should include both self-ratings and parent ratings. However, there are few standardized self-assessment instruments to meet this need. The Children's Sleep Comic is an adapted version of the unpublished German questionnaire "Freiburger Kinderschlafcomic" and provides pictures for items and responses. Because the drawings were outdated and allowed only for qualitative analysis, we revised the comic, tested its applicability in a target sample, and suggest a procedure for quantitative analysis.

METHODS: All items were updated and pictures were newly drawn. We used a sample of 201 children aged 5-10 years to test the applicability of the Children's Sleep Comic in young children and to run a preliminary analysis.

RESULTS: The Children's Sleep Comic comprises 37 items covering relevant aspects of sleep disorders in children. Application took on average 30 minutes. The procedure was well accepted by the children, as reflected by the absence of any dropouts. First comparisons with established questionnaires indicated moderate correlations.

CONCLUSION: The Children's Sleep Comic is appropriate for screening sleep behavior and sleep problems in children. The interactive procedure can foster a good relationship between the investigator and the child, and thus establish the basis for successful intervention if necessary.

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