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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

Editor-in-Chief: Merrick, Joav

Editorial Board: Birch, Diana ML / Blum, Robert W. / Greydanus, MD, Dr. HC (Athens), Donald E. / Hardoff, Daniel / Kerr, Mike / Levy, Howard B / Morad, Mohammed / Omar, Hatim A. / de Paul, Joaquin / Rydelius, Per-Anders / Shek, Daniel T.L. / Sher, Leo / Silber, Tomas J. / Towns, Susan / Urkin, Jacob / Verhofstadt-Deneve, Leni / Zeltzer, Lonnie / Tenenbaum, Ariel

CiteScore 2018: 0.79

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.350
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.476

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Prenatal and early life origins of adolescence sleep problems: evidence from a birth cohort

Yaqoot Fatima / Alice Cairns / Isabelle Skinner / Suhail A.R. Doi / Abdullah Al Mamun
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute for Social Science Research, University of Queensland, Indooroopilly, Brisbane, QLD 4068, Australia, Phone: +61 (07) 3365 3163
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Published Online: 2018-10-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0048



This study aims to identify the prenatal and early life predictors of adolescence sleep problems.


Sleep data (n = 5081) from the 14-year (13.92 ± 0.34 years) follow-up of a birth cohort were analyzed to explore the predictors of adolescence trouble sleeping, nightmares, snoring and sleep talking/walking. Data from the antenatal period till adolescence were explored for identifying predictors of adolescence sleep problems. Modified Poisson regression with a robust error variance was used to identify significant predictors.


Our results suggest that about a quarter of adolescents in our study sample had sleep maintenance problems (nightmares: 27.88%, snoring: 23.20%, sleepwalking/talking 27.72%). The prevalence rate of sleep initiation problems was even higher (trouble sleeping: 40.61%). Our results suggest that antenatal and early-life factors, e.g. maternal smoking, anxiety, sleep problems in childhood, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, and poor health are significant predictors of adolescence sleep problems.


This study demonstrates the predictive role of prenatal and early life risk factors in adolescence sleep problems. It seems that exposure to prenatal and early life risk factors increase the vulnerability for sleep problems later in life, which is further supported by poor health and lifestyle choices in adolescence. Therefore, close observation and mitigation of factors associated with early life risk factors could be a potential strategy for preventing sleep problems later in life.

Keywords: adolescence; early life factors; maternal depression; parenting style; sleep problems


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About the article

Received: 2017-10-03

Accepted: 2018-04-10

Published Online: 2018-10-20

Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20180048, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2018-0048.

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