Pre-sleep arousal and sleep problems of anxiety-disordered youth

Candice A. Alfano, Armando Pina, Argero A. Zerr, Ian K. Villalta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


The current study examined sleep problems and pre-sleep arousal among 52 anxious children and adolescents, aged 7-14 years, in relation to age, sex, ethnicity, and primary anxiety disorder. Assessment included structured diagnostic interviews and parent and child completed measures of sleep problems and pre-sleep arousal. Overall, 85% of parents reported clinically-significant child sleep problems, whereas 54% of youth reported trouble sleeping. Young children, those with primary generalized anxiety disorder, and Latino youth experienced the greatest levels of sleep disturbance. Additionally, greater levels of pre-sleep cognitive rather than somatic arousal were found and pre-sleep thoughts were associated with decreased total sleep duration and greater sleep problems. Findings suggest that attention to sleep should be part of assessment procedures for anxious children in both research and clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-167
Number of pages12
JournalChild Psychiatry and Human Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Child
  • Pre-sleep arousal
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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