Journal of anxiety disorders

Anxiety sensitivity and sleep-related problems in anxious youth.

PMID 25863826


Anxiety disorders constitute the most common mental health disturbance experienced by youth. Sleep-related problems (SRPs) are highly prevalent among anxious youth and encompass a variety of problems including nighttime fears, insomnia, and refusal to sleep alone. Given that chronic sleep disturbance is associated with a range of behavioral and physical problems in youth and predicts future psychopathology, it is important to elucidate the nature of SRPs in anxious youth. The present study investigated the relationship between sleep problems and anxiety sensitivity in a sample of 101 anxious youth, ages 6-17. Heightened anxiety sensitivity significantly predicted prolonged sleep onset latency across the sample, even after accounting for severity of anxiety, depression, and age. Results support previous research indicating that SRPs are common among anxious youth and suggest that anxiety sensitivity may play a particularly important role in sleep onset latency.