- Sleep problems are common in children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
- Sleep problems are associated with increased rates of child behaviour problems.
- Child sleep problems impact negatively on caregiver mental wellbeing.
- Child sleep problems impact negatively on caregiver and family quality of life.
Sleep problems are a common clinically reported area of concern for children and adolescents with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). However, limited empirical research has been undertaken investigating sleep problems for children with FASD. The current study aimed to examine the associations between parent-reported sleep problems in children with FASD and child behaviour, caregiver mental health and health-related quality of life and family functioning.
163 caregivers of children diagnosed with FASD aged 5-17 years were included in the current study.
Cross-sectional online survey that collected information pertaining to child sleep problems (difficulty falling asleep, difficulty staying asleep and/or frequent waking during the night and waking early in the morning) and standardised caregiver reported measures of child behaviour, caregiver mental wellbeing, caregiver health-related quality of life, and family functioning.
Sleep problems were common, affecting 65.6% (n = 107) of participants. Difficulty falling asleep (56.4%) was the most common sleep problem encountered, followed by difficulty staying asleep (44.8%) and waking early (29.4%). Sleep problems were associated with increased rates of child behaviour problems and caregiver anxiety and negative impacts on caregiver and family quality of life.
Sleep problems in children and adolescents with FASD are common and associated with poorer child, caregiver and family outcomes. Future research needs to determine whether effective identification and management of sleep problems can reduce adverse outcomes.