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Is there an association between insomnia symptoms, aggressive behavior, and suicidality in adolescents?

Authors Zschoche M, Schlarb A

Received 28 October 2014

Accepted for publication 11 December 2014

Published 2 March 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 29—36

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AHMT.S76511

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Steven Youngentob

Maria Zschoche, Angelika Anita Schlarb

Faculty of Psychology and Sports Science, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany


Purpose: Sleep disturbances are a common problem during adolescence. Often there is a relationship with the mental health of the affected person. The existing literature concerning the link between sleep disturbances and aggressive behavior and sleep disturbances and suicidality during adolescence shows no clear results. The present study tested a mediation model to prove the relation between sleep problems, aggressive behavior, and suicidality during adolescence. To take the link between suicidality and depression into account, the amount of depressive symptoms was included into the mediation model.
Methods: A sample of 93 adolescents aged 14–18 years (30% male) was studied. A survey was conducted to interview the adolescents about their mental health, sleep-related behaviors, aggressive behavior, and suicidality.
Results: Sleep problems and suicidality measures were significantly related to each other. Furthermore, aggressive behavior and suicidality showed a significant relationship. The expected link between sleep problems and aggressive behavior was not significant. For the mediation model, no significant influence of aggressive behavior on the relationship between the amount of sleep problems and suicidality was found. However, the impact of depressive symptoms on the relationship between sleep problems and suicidality was significant.
Conclusion: Sleep problems and overall suicidality in adolescents are significantly connected, even after adjusting for several possible influencing factors. Aggressive behavior could not be confirmed as a mediator for the association between sleep problems and suicidality in adolescents. Further studies to examine the link between insomnia symptoms, aggressive behavior, and suicidality in adolescents are necessary.

Keywords: adolescents, aggressive behavior, sleep problems, suicidality, depression

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