Sleep deprivation in American children is a matter of national concern. Estimates of children with sleep disturbances range from 20% to 40%. Behavior problems, negative mood, neurobehavioral impairments, and academic underachievement have been associated with childhood sleep disturbances. However, significant gaps in this research include longitudinal studies linking sleep disturbances with developmental trajectories of cognitive functioning and mental and physical health problems;tests of physiological systems that operate as mechanisms, increase vulnerability or provide protection against sleep disturbances;and investigations of the ethnic and socioeconomic context within which children often experience sleep disruptions. The objectives of the present study are to: (1) examine linkages between sleep parameters (amount, quality, schedule) and developmental trajectories of mental health, physical health, and cognitive/academic outcomes;(2) investigate multi-system processes, in which associations between sleep disturbances and developmental outcomes are mediated or moderated by vagal tone or vagal suppression;and (3) evaluate the extent to which these associations and developmental processes operate differently by ethnicity, socioeconomic levels, child gender, and pubertal status. The longitudinal design will involve 4 waves of data collection with a one-year lag between each wave. The sample will consist of 320 children (50% girls), 8-10 years of age at T1, with high representation from low SES and African-American families. Sleep parameters will be assessed objectively, via actigraphy, and subjectively, via child and parent reports. Well-established procedures will assess vagal tone and vagal suppression to laboratory challenges. Children's adjustment and health will be assessed with parent, child, and teacher reports. Cognitive skill and achievement will be assessed via standardized tests and grades. The proposed study will advance understanding of child outcomes associated with sleep disturbances (PA-07-140, Research on Sleep and Sleep Disorders), by studying physiological responses that exacerbate or attenuate the effects of sleep disturbances, and by examining public health priorities as outcomes, such as body mass index, physical health and illness, and academic performance (PA-07-046, Research on Mind-Body Interactions and Health). In addition, by utilizing a sample of normally developing children, the proposed study will investigate sleep processes across a wide range of social-ecological risk levels, thereby allowing tests of moderation by risk level and generalization to a broad range of children (PA-07-379, Behavioral and Social Science Research on Understanding and Reducing Health Disparities). Finally, this research will focus on how these processes unfold over time. Findings will illuminate specific forms and timing of sleep disturbances that elevate risk for negative outcomes in childhood, help identify children and families at greatest risk, and shed light on behavioral, physiological, and ecological targets for prevention and intervention.

Public Health Relevance

Sleep disturbances in American children are highly prevalent, and research increasingly demonstrates their harmful effects across multiple domains of child functioning. However, significant gaps in knowledge include longitudinal evidence linking sleep disturbances with developmental trajectories of cognitive functioning and mental and physical health problems;tests of physiological systems that operate as mechanisms, increase vulnerability, or provide protection against sleep disturbances;and investigations of gender- and puberty- related effects, as well as the ethnic and socioeconomic context within which children experience sleep disturbances and associated problems. Findings of the proposed study will illuminate specific forms and timing of sleep disturbances that elevate risk for negative outcomes in childhood, help identify children and families at greatest risk, and shed light on behavioral, physiological, and ecological targets for prevention and intervention.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01HL093246-04
Application #
8286185
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-BBBP-C (02))
Program Officer
Kaufmann, Peter G
Project Start
2009-04-01
Project End
2014-03-31
Budget Start
2012-04-01
Budget End
2014-03-31
Support Year
4
Fiscal Year
2012
Total Cost
$639,593
Indirect Cost
$167,446
Name
Auburn University at Auburn
Department
Other Health Professions
Type
Schools of Allied Health Profes
DUNS #
066470972
City
Auburn University
State
AL
Country
United States
Zip Code
36849
Staton, Lori; Hinnant, J Benjamin; Buckhalt, Joseph et al. (2014) Sleep and cognitive performance: the role of income and respiratory sinus arrhythmia reactivity. Dev Psychobiol 56:1528-40
El-Sheikh, Mona; Kelly, Ryan J; Sadeh, Avi et al. (2014) Income, ethnicity, and sleep: coping as a moderator. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol 20:441-8
Kelly, Ryan J; Marks, Brian T; El-Sheikh, Mona (2014) Longitudinal relations between parent-child conflict and children's adjustment: the role of children's sleep. J Abnorm Child Psychol 42:1175-85
Bagley, Erika J; El-Sheikh, Mona (2014) Relations between daytime pre-ejection period reactivity and sleep in late childhood. J Sleep Res 23:335-8
Keller, Peggy S; Kouros, Chrystyna D; Erath, Stephen A et al. (2014) Longitudinal relations between maternal depressive symptoms and child sleep problems: the role of parasympathetic nervous system reactivity. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 55:172-9
El-Sheikh, Mona; Bagley, Erika J; Keiley, Margaret et al. (2013) Economic adversity and children's sleep problems: multiple indicators and moderation of effects. Health Psychol 32:849-59
Bagley, Erika J; El-Sheikh, Mona (2013) Familial risk moderates the association between sleep and zBMI in children. J Pediatr Psychol 38:775-84
El-Sheikh, Mona; Erath, Stephen A; Bagley, Erika J (2013) Parasympathetic nervous system activity and children's sleep. J Sleep Res 22:282-8
El-Sheikh, Mona; Kelly, Ryan; Rauer, Amy (2013) Quick to berate, slow to sleep: interpartner psychological conflict, mental health, and sleep. Health Psychol 32:1057-66
Hinnant, J Benjamin; El-Sheikh, Mona (2013) Codevelopment of externalizing and internalizing symptoms in middle to late childhood: sex, baseline respiratory sinus arrhythmia, and respiratory sinus arrhythmia reactivity as predictors. Dev Psychopathol 25:419-36

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