Sleep disruptions in parents of children and adolescents with chronic illnesses: prevalence, causes, and consequences

J Pediatr Psychol. 2008 Apr;33(3):279-91. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsm118. Epub 2007 Dec 15.


Objective: Provide a comprehensive review of the existing literature on the prevalence, causes, and consequences of sleep disruptions in parents of youth with chronic illnesses.

Methods: A comprehensive literature search of PsychInfo, MEDLINE, and CINAHL for articles related to sleep in parents of youth with chronic illnesses yielded 59 potential articles, with 19 meeting inclusion criteria.

Results: Parents of children with eczema were the most commonly studied group. The prevalence of sleep disruptions was 15-86%. Potential causes of parent sleep disruptions included nighttime caregiving, monitoring of the child's illness, and stress related to the child's illness. Consequences included poor sleep quality, depression, and anxiety.

Conclusions: Parents of youth with chronic illnesses experience sleep disruptions, providing a potential mechanism to explain elevated rates of negative daytime functioning found in previous studies. To provide interventions and support for these parents, additional research is needed to address the limitations of the existing literature.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*