Daily dynamics in sleep and behavior of young African-American children: A convoluted dyad?!

Karen Spruyt*, Calista U. Alaribe, Odochi U. Nwabara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Web of Science)


Prior research has provided evidence that in children sleep and behavior are related. We aimed to determine the association between naturalistic daily variations in sleep and behavioral functioning. African American children, 5.4 +/- 1.7 years old, living on the south side of Chicago participated in a repeated measures study to assess this sleep -behavior link. Data was obtained from three separate two-week periods of 24 -hour actigraphy and the parental version of the Behavioral Assessment System for Children. Canonical correlations analyses were applied to investigate the relation between individual changes in sleep and behavior. After 1 -month, weekday average sleep duration primarily related to internalizing behaviors, while within -child variability of sleep related to behavioral changes which may involve internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Week -weekend differences in sleep associated with maladaptive social skills. Over a 6 -week period, sleep onset latency and sleep offset latency related to behavioral symptoms and maladaptive skills. Over a period of 3 -months, sleep associated with symptomatic behaviors while the adverse impact of within -child variability of sleep attenuated. Alternatively, the week -weekend differences in bedtime, wake-up time, wake after sleep onset and sleep onset latency in particular related to internalizing and externalizing behavior problems. Findings showed that poor sleep related to dysfunctional behaviors. While maladaptive at the beginning, they may develop into symptomatic behaviors with potentially internalizing characteristics. As time goes on, individual changes in sleep onset and offset might be important clinical markers of a chronic 'social dysregulation'. Continued sufficient and regular sleep may improve daytime and nighttime behavioral regulation in early childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-66
JournalInternational Journal of Psychophysiology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016


  • Sleep
  • Behavior
  • Child
  • Actigraphy
  • Developing child

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