04 Sep Sleep, Antisocial Behaviour, and Family Conflict
The objective of this investigation was to examine the relationship between sleep problems and development of antisocial behaviour from adolescence through young adulthood, and to investigate whether family functioning moderates the association being examined.
A total of 2,491 adolescents participated in a prospective study spanning 2009 through 2014. A few of the parameters studied included sleep problems, family functioning (parental support, family interaction, and family conflict), antisocial behaviours, and other individual characteristics (sex, age, parental education, family economic stress, depressive symptoms, and stressful life events).
Sleep problems were significantly and positively associated with antisocial behaviours (B = 0.088 and 0.038 for males and females, respectively). With sex/ gender differences further emerged in the moderating effects of family functioning. Among males, those with high family interaction had a weaker association between sleep problems and antisocial behaviours; among females, the examined association was weaker in those with high parental support. For both sexes, the association between sleep problems and antisocial behaviours was stronger for those with high family conflict.
There are several limitations to the study. Firstly, the measures of sleep problems are based on self-reported measures by adolescents. This introduces a reporting bias. For example; an adolescent with a negative attitude towards their family, might encourage them to report negative aspects of their sleep. This is somewhat mitigated by the length of the study, and the continuing presence of study staff. Furthermore, the limitation of the study to Taiwan somewhat limits the extrapolation of conclusions to wider communities, due to a cultural bias. The link between family functioning and the other factors must be considered with caution, as the data on this was collected in a time-invariant fashion. That is to say that, a patient might be identified as having a conflicted family, and assigned to that group.
Nevertheless, the study supports a correlation between antisocial behaviours and sleep disorders. The investigation was not designed to establish causation, but rather to incite further research into improving patient sleep, or perhaps improving family conflict, by targeting one or the other. The authors suggest that the effects of sleep problems could be mitigated by targeting family functioning for intervention.
Chang L-Y, Wu C-C, Lin LN, Yen L-L, Chang H-Y. The Effects of Sleep Problems on the Trajectory of Antisocial Behavior from Adolescence through Early Adulthood in Taiwan: Family Functioning as a Moderator. Sleep. 2016;39(7):1441-1449. doi:10.5665/sleep.5980.!