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20-06-2017 | Uitgave 4/2017

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment 4/2017

Sleep and Preteen Delinquency: Is the Association Robust to ADHD Symptomatology and ADHD Diagnosis?

Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment > Uitgave 4/2017
Dylan B. Jackson, Michael G. Vaughn
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s10862-017-9610-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Both qualitative and quantitative aspects of sleep have been linked to multiple dimensions of well-being. An emerging body of research has also revealed that poor sleep during adolescence can increase the likelihood of delinquent involvement. The contribution of early sleep difficulties to later delinquency, however, is often overlooked. Furthermore, the role that ADHD symptomatology and/or diagnosis might play in this association has not been adequately addressed, despite findings suggesting that both sleep disturbances and delinquent involvement are more common among children with ADHD symptomatology or an ADHD diagnosis. The current study examines the associations between sleep behaviors and preteen delinquency, and the extent to which ADHD symptomatology and/or diagnosis might inform these associations. Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) were employed to explore these associations and logistic regression techniques were utilized to analyze the data. The findings reveal that both sleep problems and sleep duration are associated with the odds of ADHD symptomatology, an ADHD diagnosis, and preteen delinquency. Even so, the results also suggest that persistent sleep problems are not significantly associated with the odds of preteen delinquency once ADHD symptomatology and diagnosis are taken into account. The influence of sleep duration on preteen delinquency, however, is robust to the association between ADHD measures and preteen delinquency. Poor sleep, therefore, appears to be an important modifiable risk factor for preteen delinquency. Even so, future investigations into the link between sleep and delinquency should account for developmental risks and/or disorders that commonly co-occur with sleep problems.

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