Background: To assess whether urban schoolchildren with aggressive behavior are more likely than peers to have symptoms suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey of sleep and behavior in schoolchildren. Validated screening assessments for conduct problems (Connor's rating scale), bullying behavior, and sleep-disordered breathing (pediatric sleep questionnaire) were completed by parents. Teachers completed Connor's teacher rating scale.
Results: Among 341 subjects (51% female), 110 (32%) were rated by a parent or teacher as having a conduct problem (T-score ⩾65) and 78 (23%) had symptoms suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing. Children with conduct problems, bullying, or discipline referrals, in comparison to non-aggressive peers, more often had symptoms suggestive of sleep-disordered breathing (each p<0.05). Children with vs. without conduct problems were more likely to snore habitually (p<0.5). However, a sleepiness subscale alone, and not a snoring subscale, predicted conduct problems after accounting for age, gender, a measure of socioeconomic status, and stimulant use.
Conclusions: Urban schoolchildren with aggressive behaviors may have symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing with disproportionate frequency. Sleepiness may impair emotional regulation necessary to control aggression.
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