The relation of objective sleep patterns, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbances in adolescent children and their parents: a sleep-EEG study with 47 families

J Psychiatr Res. 2012 Oct;46(10):1374-82. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2012.07.006. Epub 2012 Jul 27.


Objectives: Numerous studies have shown that the sleep and well-being of children and their parents are closely related. Previous studies have relied on subjective sleep data and have focused mostly on younger preadolescent children. The aim of the present study was therefore to investigate the relationship between the sleep patterns of adolescents and those of their parents using objective assessment of sleep.

Methods: Forty-seven families took part in this study. The sample comprised 80 adolescents (age: 16.3 ± 2.0 years; 44 males/36 females), 47 mothers (age: 49.5 ± 4.0 years), and 39 fathers (age: 50.8 ± 5.1 years). All participants individually completed questionnaires related to psychological functioning and sleep. Sleep-EEGs were assessed for all family members in their homes.

Results: Adolescents' and parents' objective sleep patterns were associated. In particular, the sleep continuity and architecture of adolescents and their mothers were strongly related. Additionally, significant relationships between objectively assessed sleep patterns, subjective sleep disturbances, depression scores and family climate held true for equally adolescents and mothers. Also, substantial links were found between adolescents' and parents' subjective sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms, and perceived family climate.

Conclusion: The present findings document objectively for the first time the existence of relationships between adolescents' sleep and well-being and parents' sleep and well-being. These relationships were apparent regardless of whether subjective or objective sleep data were considered. The overall pattern of results strongly indicates that adolescents' sleep and well-being and family functioning are related.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Depression / complications*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Self Report
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / complications*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland
  • Young Adult