Aggressive behavior, bullying, snoring, and sleepiness in schoolchildren

Sleep Med. 2011 Aug;12(7):652-8. doi: 10.1016/j.sleep.2010.11.012. Epub 2011 May 26.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Aggression / physiology*
  • Aggression / psychology
  • Bullying / physiology*
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / physiopathology
  • Child Behavior Disorders* / psychology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / epidemiology
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / physiopathology
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence* / psychology
  • Emotions / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / epidemiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / psychology
  • Snoring* / epidemiology
  • Snoring* / physiopathology
  • Snoring* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires