Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Nightmares in Children with FASD, ASD and Their Typically Developing Peers

Version 1 : Received: 2 August 2021 / Approved: 3 August 2021 / Online: 3 August 2021 (13:07:06 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Mughal, R.; Wong, S.S.; Dimitriou, D.; Halstead, E. Nightmares in Children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Their Typically Developing Peers. Clocks & Sleep 2021, 3, 465-481. Mughal, R.; Wong, S.S.; Dimitriou, D.; Halstead, E. Nightmares in Children with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Their Typically Developing Peers. Clocks & Sleep 2021, 3, 465-481.

Journal reference: Clocks & Sleep 2021, 3, 33
DOI: 10.3390/clockssleep3030033

Abstract

Children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience significantly higher rates of sleep disturbances than their typically developing peers. Pre-sleep anxiety and waking emotional content is known to affect the content and frequency of nightmares, which can be distressing to children and caregivers. This is the first study to analyse nightmare frequency and content in FASD, and to assess its association with psychometric outcomes. We assessed reports from 277 caregivers of children with ASD (n=61), FASD (n=112), and TD children (n=104) using the Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ), the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), the Spence Children’s Anxiety Scale (SCAS) and the Behavior Rating Inventory for Executive Functioning (BRIEF). Within the ASD group, 40.3% of caregivers reported their children had nightmares. Within the FASD group, 73.62% of caregivers reported their children had nightmares and within the TD group, 21.36% of caregivers reported their children had nightmares. Correlation analysis revealed significant associations between anxiety and nightmares, maladaptive behaviour and nightmares, and executive functioning and nightmares in the TD and FASD groups, but not ASD group. This paper adds to the emerging body of work supporting the need for sleep interventions as part of clinical practice with regard to children with ASD and FASD. As a relatively niche but important area of study this warrants much needed further research.

Keywords

autism; sleep; fetal alcohol spectrum disorders; nightmares; anxiety; executive function; behaviour

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