Adolescent Insomnia Linked to Depression, Anxiety and Chronotype

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Pasquale K Alvaro
School of Psychology
University of Adelaide
South Australia, Australia

Medical Research: What are the main findings of the study?

Answer: In adolescents, insomnia is related to depression beyond chronotype (a classification system for circadian rhythms or body clock), anxiety and age. Insomnia is also related to Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) beyond chronotype, depression and age. Depression accounts for the relationship between insomnia and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and Social Phobia (SP). Furthermore, an evening chronotype (delayed sleep phase, that is, preferring to go to bed in the early morning) predicts insomnia beyond depression, anxiety and age. Moreover, an evening chronotype predicts depression beyond insomnia, anxiety and age. Finally, insomnia and depression account for the relationships between an evening chronotype and panic disorder, OCD, SAD and SP.


Medical Research: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Answer: The only unexpected finding was that chronotype was not related to GAD before controlling for potential covariates.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Answer: Sleep problems, particularly insomnia, should be considered in all public health and treatment efforts for mental health problems, and vice-versa. Chronotype should also be considered in preventative and treatment efforts for adolescent insomnia and depression.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Answer: More longitudinal studies about the direction of the relationship between insomnia, depression and anxiety during adolescence are needed. That is, the predictive effects of insomnia at baseline on depression at follow-up, and vice-versa, should be assessed. The direction of the relationship between insomnia and different anxiety subtypes during adolescence also needs to be investigated. The identification of other risk-factors that may affect these relationships, such as chronotype, exercise, or other psychiatric and sleep disorders, is also vital.

Citation:
The independent relationships between insomnia, depression, subtypes of anxiety, and chronotype during adolescence
Pasquale K. Alvaro, Rachel M. Roberts, Jodie K. Harris

Sleep Medicine

Volume 15, Issue 8, August 2014, Pages 934–941