Children of alcoholic parents are at greater risk for developing substance use problems. Having a parent with any mental illness increases the risk for sleep disorders in children. Using actigraphy, this study characterized sleep in children of alcoholics and community controls over a period of 1week. This study further examined whether sleep characteristics of the children mediated the relationship between self-regulation indices (i.e. undercontrol and resiliency) and outcome measures of function (e.g. problem behaviours and perceived conflict at home). Eighty-two children (53 boys, 29 girls, 7.2-13.0 years old) were recruited from the ongoing Michigan Longitudinal Study. Seventeen participants had no parental history of alcohol abuse or dependence family history negative (FH-), 43 had at least one parent who was a recovered alcoholic, and 22 had at least one parent who met diagnostic criteria within the past 3 years. Sleep was assessed with actigraphy and sleep diaries for 1week, and combined with secondary analysis of data collected for the longitudinal study. FH- children had more objectively measured total sleep time. More total sleep time was associated with greater resiliency and behavioural control, fewer teacher-reported behavioural problems, and less child-reported conflict at home. Further, total sleep time partially mediated the relationship between resiliency and perceived conflict, and between resiliency and externalizing problems. These findings suggest that in high-risk homes, the opportunity to obtain sufficient sleep is reduced, and that insufficient sleep further exacerbates the effects of impaired dispositional self-regulatory capacity on behavioural and emotional regulation.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016 European Sleep Research Society.
- Externalizing behaviors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Behavioral Neuroscience