Objectives: The purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of the relationship between anxiety symptoms and sleep in children with ASD as compared to TDC.
Methods: Thirty one of the projected sample of 50 children with ASD, ages 6-17, were recruited from a larger funded study and compared to 8 of the projected sample of 50 TDC. The subjects had general cognitive function testing and ASD diagnose confirmed by ADOS/ ADI. The anxiety symptoms were evaluated by the neuropsychology team utilizing the Anxiety Diagnostic Interview Schedule (ADIS- C/P), child and parent version , a two hour structured interview, and anxiety questionnaires. Sleep was characterized by 5-7 nights of an objective measure, actigraphy using the Sadeh algorithm, sleep diaries, sleep questionnaire and a comprehensive medical interview by the nurse researcher.
Results: A DSM-IV-TR anxiety diagnosis was identified with the ADIS-C/P in 18 of the 31 ASD subjects (58%). One ASD subject met criteria for Anxiety Disorder- NOS. One of the 8 TDC was identified with a specific phobia. Insomnia was identified in 51% of the ASD, defined as a sleep latency greater than 30 minutes by actigraphy. No TDC were identified with insomnia. We found significant differences in sleep latency (p= .oo4), sleep efficiency (p=.049) and wake in minutes (p=0.014) and a trend in sleep minutes (p=.064) when comparing ASD children with anxiety (n=19) and without anxiety (n=12). Moreover, we found no significant difference in the four sleep parameters between the TDC and the ASD group without anxiety.
Conclusions: This preliminary data suggests that anxiety and insomnia are linked. We hope after the completion of this study we will provide insights into the co-treatment of anxiety and insomnia in ASD.
See more of: Medical Co-Morbid Conditions
See more of: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Phenotype