Thursday, June 12, 2008

Sleep and Suicide in Children and Teens

Two studies being presented as oral presentation this morning at SLEEP 2008 address the relationship between sleep and suicidal behavior in children.

A study (ID# 0194) of 450 boys and 348 girls examined how children may be affected when a parent has a history of chronic insomnia. The children in the study had an average age of 14.4 years.

Teens with a parental history of chronic insomnia were much more likely to report having suicidal thoughts than teens without a parental history of insomnia (16.7% vs. 5.3%); they also were more likely to have a suicide plan (9.5% vs. 1.5%) and to have attempted suicide (9.5% vs. 1.7%).

Another study (ID# 0180) involved 303 children and teens with bipolar disorder and unipolar disorder during depressive episodes. The children in the study had an average age of 12.8 years.

Results show that 83.8 percent of the children had sleep disturbances. The presence of sleep complaints showed a significant association with suicidal behavior. Children with bipolar disorder were more likely than children with unipolar disorder to report suicidal behaviors with sleep complaints, classified as suicidal thoughts (58% vs. 35.6%), desire to die (58% vs. 31.5%), suicide plans (55.5% vs. 22.3%), and suicide attempt (40.7% vs. 19.8%).

The SLEEP 2008 abstract book is available online at


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