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Title: Sleep problems and daytime challenging behaviour in a clinical sample of children with a moderate to severe learning disability and/or autism : the relationship with maternal stress
Author: Chalmers, Eleanor J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2004
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Objective: The incidence rates of sleep problems have previously been found to be significantly higher in children with a moderate to severe learning disability and/or autism in comparison to typically developing children (Richdale, Gavidia-Payne, Francis & Cotton, 2000). Further, the existence of a sleep problem has been found to be correlated with daytime challenging behaviour and maternal stress (Wiggs & Stores, 1996; Quine, 1991; Quine, 1992). To date, no study has investigated this relationship and prevalence rates specifically in a clinical population. In this study it was hypothesised that children who had been referred to a specialist learning disability and autism clinical service for complex psychological and behavioural difficulties and were, by definition, considered to have problems that have reached clinical significance, would have increased sleeping difficulties in comparison to children with the same degree of disability whose behaviour had not warranted referral. Further, this would have an impact on maternal stress in that stress levels would be again higher in the clinical group. Results: In comparison to the control group, mothers of children in the clinical group rated their children as having significantly more sleeping problems and daytime challenging behaviour. Further the mothers in the clinical group scored more highly on a measure of maternal stress. A correlation was found between all three variables in the clinical group; sleep and maternal stress were not correlated in the control group. Regression analysis suggested that children’s sleep problems were the best predictor of maternal stress in the clinical group and daytime challenging behaviour was the best predictor of maternal stress in the control group. The results are discussed with reference to previous research findings and clinical implications. Consideration is also given to the methodological shortcomings of the current study and suggestions for future research are made.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available