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1.  Behavioural sleep problems in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): protocol for a prospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(2):e004070.
Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) commonly experience behavioural sleep problems, yet these difficulties are not routinely assessed and managed in this group. Presenting with similar symptoms to ADHD itself, sleep problems are complex in children with ADHD and their aetiology is likely to be multifactorial. Common internalising and externalising comorbidities have been associated with sleep problems in children with ADHD; however, this relationship is yet to be fully elucidated. Furthermore, limited longitudinal data exist on sleep problems in children with ADHD, thus their persistence and impact remain unknown. In a diverse sample of children with ADHD, this study aims to: (1) quantify the relationship between sleep problems and internalising and externalising comorbidities; (2) examine sleep problem trajectories and risk factors; and (3) examine the longitudinal associations between sleep problems and child and family functioning over a 12-month period.
Methods and analysis
A prospective cohort study of 400 children with ADHD (150 with no/mild sleep problems, 250 with moderate/severe sleep problems) recruited from paediatric practices across Victoria, Australia. The children's parents and teacher provide data at baseline and 6-month and 12-month post enrolment.
Key measures
Parent report of child's sleep problem severity (no, mild, moderate, severe); specific sleep domain scores assessed using the Child Sleep Habits Questionnaire; internalising and externalising comorbidities assessed by the Anxiety Disorders Interview Schedule for Children IV/Parent version.
Multiple variable logistic and linear regression models examining the associations between key measures, adjusted for confounders identified a priori.
Ethics and dissemination
Ethics approval has been granted. Findings will contribute to our understanding of behavioural sleep problems in children with ADHD. Clinically, they could improve the assessment and management of sleep problems in this group. We will seek to publish in leading paediatric journals, present at conferences and inform Australian paediatricians through the Australian Paediatric Research Network.
PMCID: PMC3927707  PMID: 24523423
Sleep Medicine
2.  Primary healthcare costs associated with sleep problems up to age 7 years: Australian population-based study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(5):e002419.
In Australian 0–7-year olds with and without sleep problems, to compare (1) type and costs to government of non-hospital healthcare services and prescription medication in each year of age and (2) the cumulative costs according to persistence of the sleep problem.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal data from a longitudinal population study.
Data from two cohorts participating in the first two waves of the nationally representative Longitudinal Study of Australian Children.
Baby cohort at ages 0–1 and 2–3 (n=5107, 4606) and Kindergarten cohort at ages 4–5 and 6–7 (n=4983, 4460).
Federal Government expenditure on healthcare attendances and prescription medication from birth to 8 years, calculated via linkage to Australian Medicare data, were compared according to parent report of child sleep problems at each of the surveys.
At both waves and in both cohorts, over 92% of children had both sleep and Medicare data. The average additional healthcare costs for children with sleep problems ranged from $141 (age 5) to $43 (age 7), falling to $98 (age 5) to $18 (age 7) per child per annum once family socioeconomic position, child gender, global health and special healthcare needs were taken into account. This equates to an estimated additional $27.5 million (95% CI $9.2 to $46.8 million) cost to the Australian federal government every year for all children aged between 0 and 7 years. In both cohorts, costs were higher for persistent than transient sleep problems.
Higher healthcare costs were sustained by infants and children with sleep problems. This supports ongoing economic evaluations of early prevention and intervention services for sleep problems considering impacts not only on the child and family but also on the healthcare system.
PMCID: PMC3669719  PMID: 23793661
Sleep Medicine
3.  Prevention of mental health problems: rationale for a universal approach 
Background and objective
Mental health problems are a public health issue affecting as many as 20% of children in modern communities. Risk factors for externalising and internalising problems can occur in infancy. Infants at high risk live in stressed families with parent mental health problems, substance misuse, relationship conflict, social isolation, financial problems or infant temperamental difficulty. Although current prevention programmes target services to high‐risk groups, targeting can stigmatise families and miss many children in need. The addition of universal prevention programmes for all families could address these concerns. This survey assessed the prevalence of infants at risk attending a primary care service as a delivery point for universal prevention.
Survey of mothers of 6‐month‐old infants attending well‐child clinics across six government areas of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, between August and September 2004. A brief survey measured sociodemographic characteristics and the following family risks: maternal depression, anxiety, stress, substance misuse, violence at home, social isolation and infant temperamental difficulty.
The survey was completed by 733 mothers, representing 69% of infant births presented to the primary care service. Of these, 39% of infants were classified as at risk for developing mental health problems. The percentage of infants classified as at risk was not markedly dissimilar across socioeconomic levels (low, 42%; middle, 40%; high, 35%).
A substantial number of infants attending routine universal primary care are at risk of developing mental health problems. This primary care setting could provide an ideal platform for preventing early externalising and internalising problems via a universally offered, evidence‐based parenting programme.
PMCID: PMC2083132  PMID: 16920756
4.  Randomised controlled trial of behavioural infant sleep intervention to improve infant sleep and maternal mood 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;324(7345):1062.
To compare the effect of a behavioural sleep intervention with written information about normal sleep on infant sleep problems and maternal depression.
Randomised controlled trial.
Well child clinics, Melbourne, Australia
156 mothers of infants aged 6-12 months with severe sleep problems according to the parents.
Main outcome measures
Maternal report of infant sleep problem; scores on Edinburgh postnatal depression scale at two and four months.
Discussion on behavioural infant sleep intervention (controlled crying) delivered over three consultations.
At two months more sleep problems had resolved in the intervention group than in the control group (53/76 v 36/76, P=0.005). Overall depression scores fell further in the intervention group than in the control group (mean change −3.7, 95% confidence interval −4.7 to −2.7, v −2.5, −1.7 to −3.4, P=0.06). For the subgroup of mothers with depression scores of 10 and over more sleep problems had resolved in the intervention group than in the control group (26/33 v 13/33, P=0.001). In this subgroup depression scores also fell further for intervention mothers than control mothers at two months (−6.0, −7.5 to −4.0, v −3.7, −4.9 to −2.6, P=0.01) and at four months (−6.5, −7.9 to 5.1 v –4.2, –5.9 to −2.5, P=0.04). By four months, changes in sleep problems and depression scores were similar.
Behavioural intervention significantly reduces infant sleep problems at two but not four months. Maternal report of symptoms of depression decreased significantly at two months, and this was sustained at four months for mothers with high depression scores.
What is already known on this topicInfant sleep problems and postnatal depression are both common potentially serious problemsWomen whose infants have sleep problems are more likely to report symptoms of depressionUncontrolled studies in clinical populations suggest that reducing infant sleep problems improves postnatal depression, but there is no good quality evidence in the community for such effectivenessWhat this study addsA brief community based sleep intervention based on teaching the controlled crying method effectively decreased infant sleep problems and symptoms of maternal depression, particularly for “depressed” mothersThe intervention was acceptable to mothers and reduced the need for other sources of help
PMCID: PMC104332  PMID: 11991909

Results 1-4 (4)