Are parenting behaviors associated with child sleep problems during treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia?


Sleep disturbance is a recognized common side effect in children treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Although associated with treatment factors such as hospitalization and corticosteroids, sleep problems may also be influenced by modifiable environmental factors such as parenting behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine sleep problems in children undergoing treatment for ALL compared to healthy children and whether parenting practices are associated with sleep difficulties. Parents of 73 children aged 2-6 years who were (1) in the maintenance phase of ALL treatment (ALL group, n = 43) or (2) had no major medical illness (healthy control group, n = 30) participated in the study. Parents completed questionnaires measuring their child's sleep behavior and their own parenting practices. Parents of children undergoing ALL treatment reported significantly more child sleep problems; 48% of children with ALL compared to 23% of healthy children had clinical levels of sleep disturbance. Parents of the ALL group also reported significantly more lax parenting practices and strategies associated with their child's sleep including co-sleeping, comforting activities, and offering food and drink in the bedroom. Results of multivariate regression analysis indicated that, after controlling for illness status, parent-child co-sleeping was significantly associated with child sleep difficulties. Strategies employed by parents during ALL treatment may be a potential modifiable intervention target that could result in improved child sleep behaviors. Future research aimed at developing and testing parenting interventions aimed to improve child sleep in the context of oncology treatment is warranted.

DOI: 10.1002/cam4.727

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@inproceedings{McCarthy2016ArePB, title={Are parenting behaviors associated with child sleep problems during treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia?}, author={Maria Catherine McCarthy and Jessica Bastiani and Lauren Kendrea Williams}, booktitle={Cancer medicine}, year={2016} }