Sleep disturbances in youth at-risk for serious mental illness

Early Interv Psychiatry. 2020 Jun;14(3):373-378. doi: 10.1111/eip.12898. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


Aim: To investigate sleep behaviours of youth at-risk for serious mental illness (SMI).

Methods: This study included 243 youth, ages 12 to 25:42 healthy controls, 41 asymptomatic youth at-risk for mental illness (stage 0); 53 help-seeking youth experiencing distress (stage 1a) and 107 youth with attenuated syndromes (stage 1b). The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to assess sleep dysfunction.

Results: Stage 1b individuals indicated the greatest deficit in global sleep dysfunction (F = 26.18, P < .0001). Stages 1a and 1b reported significantly worse subjective sleep quality, a longer sleep latency, increased use of sleep medications as well as greater daytime dysfunction compared to the asymptomatic groups.

Conclusion: Research investigating sleep behaviours of youth considered to be at-risk for SMI is limited. This study provides early evidence that sleep disturbances are worse for individuals considered to be at higher risk of illness development.

Keywords: clinical high risk; depression; psychosis; serious mental illness; sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Psychotic Disorders
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult