A cross-lagged panel analysis of children's sleep, attention, and mood in a prenatally stressed cohort: The QF2011 Queensland flood study.

TitleA cross-lagged panel analysis of children's sleep, attention, and mood in a prenatally stressed cohort: The QF2011 Queensland flood study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsSimcock G, Cobham VE, Laplante DP, Elgbeili G, Gruber R, Kildea S, King S
JournalJ Affect Disord
Volume255
Pagination96-104
Date Published2019 Aug 01
ISSN1573-2517
Abstract

BACKGROUND: It is well recognized that childhood sleep, attention and mood problems increase risk for multiple adverse outcomes across the life-span; therefore, understanding factors, such as prenatal maternal stress, that underlie these types of childhood problems is critical for developing interventions that may optimize longer-term functioning. Our goal was to determine the association between disaster-related stress in pregnancy and young children's sleep, attention, and anxious/depressed symptoms.METHODS: Soon after a major flood in Australia in 2011, we assessed various aspects of disaster-related prenatal maternal stress (PNMS) in women who had been pregnant at the time. Mothers rated several domains of their children's development with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) at ages 2½ (n = 134) and 4 years (n = 118).RESULTS: The primary finding was that more severe objective flood-related hardship in pregnancy predicted higher sleep problem scores at 2½ years, and that a negative maternal cognitive appraisal of the flood predicted lower attention problem scores at 2½ years. A cross-lagged panel analysis examined the association between children's sleep, attention, and anxious/depressed symptoms within and across ages. Results showed that these problems were likely to co-occur at each age, and that they were stable from 2½ to 4 years. Additionally, anxious/depressed scores at age 2½ predicted sleep problem scores at 4 years, all else being equal.LIMITATIONS: Limitations of the study include a relatively small sample size and the children's outcome data relied on maternal report using the CBCL, rather than independent observation of the children's functioning, which may have introduced reporter bias.CONCLUSIONS: These findings highlight the importance of early intervention for these childhood problems to optimize long-term mental health, particularly under conditions of prenatal stress.

DOI10.1016/j.jad.2019.05.041
Alternate JournalJ Affect Disord
PubMed ID31150945