JOURNAL ARTICLE

Exploring Behavioral Sleep Problems in Children With ADHD and Comorbid Autism Spectrum Disorder

Simone Thomas, Kate Lycett, Nicole Papadopoulos, Emma Sciberras, Nicole Rinehart
Journal of Attention Disorders 2018, 22 (10): 947-958
26637841

OBJECTIVE: This study (a) compared behavioral sleep problems in children with comorbid ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) with those with ADHD and (b) examined child/family factors associated with sleep problems.

METHOD: Cross-sectional study comparison of 392 children with a confirmed ADHD diagnosis (ADHD+ASD, n=93, ADHD, n=299) recruited from 21 peadiatric practises in Victoria, Australia. Data were collected from parents. Key measures included the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ).

RESULTS: Children with ADHD + ASD experienced similar levels and types of behavioral sleep problems compared with those with ADHD. In both groups, the presence of co-occurring internalizing and externalizing comorbidities was associated with sleep problems. Sleep problems were also associated with parent age in the ADHD + ASD group and poorer parent mental health in the ADHD group.

CONCLUSION: Findings suggest comorbid ASD is not associated with increased behavioral sleep problems in children with ADHD and that co-occurring internalizing and externalizing comorbidities may flag children in these groups with sleep problems.

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