First effects of a multicomponent treatment for sleep disorders in children
Angelika A Schlarb1, Kerstin Velten-Schurian1, Christian F Poets2, Martin Hautzinger1
1Faculty of Science, Department of Psychology, 2Department of Neonatology, University Hospital Tübingen, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
Abstract: Insomnia in children is a common disorder, yet only few child-specific treatment modalities exist so far. The goal of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of a multicomponent intervention program for children with insomnia at 5–10 years of age and their parents. The program was a structured six-session behavioral and hypnotherapeutic group treatment with three sessions for the children and three for their parents. Thirty-eight children (5.1–10.9 years) were randomly assigned to the specific treatment condition or waiting list plus sleep diary control condition. Twenty-two children participated in the treatment group and 16 in the control group. All children suffered from insomnia according to the International Classification of Sleep Disorders criteria. Sleep symptoms were assessed with a sleep diary and the German version of the Children Sleep Habit Questionnaire (CSHQ) and the Sleep Disturbance Scale for Children (SDSC). Although both conditions showed a significant decrease in several sleep symptoms, the treatment group exhibited a significantly greater improvement with regard to CSHQ and SDSC total scores as well as in several sleep parameters, reflecting the most important features of the intervention program, such as bedtime, sleep-related anxiety, night waking, and sleeping in parents' bed. By contrast, the control group’s data revealed only unspecific effects. These pilot data suggest that insomnia in childhood can be treated effectively with this child-specific multicomponent group treatment.
Keywords: sleep disorders in children, behavioral insomnia, behavioral therapy, hypnotherapy, group therapy, imagery
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