Research Questions Sleep in adolescence may vary according to strain and environmental factors. In particular, parents’ poor psychological functioning may affect their children’s sleep patterns. Findings also indicate that females can show higher levels of sleep complaint than males. However, no data have been gathered with respect to parents’ and their adolescent children’s sleep. Therefore, the present study aimed at investigating adolescents’ and their parents’ sleep patterns in parallel and at exploring possible gender-related sleep patterns among parents and adolescent children.
Methods A total of 293 adolescents (mean age 17.55 years; 214 females, 79 males) completed several questionnaires regarding their own psychological functioning and their parents’ sleep and parenting styles. They also filled in a sleep log for seven consecutive days.
Results Adolescents’ and parents’ sleep patterns were associated. Parents’ sleep quality correlated with that of their children. Moreover, parents with poor sleep quality also had unfavourable parenting styles and these were associated with poorer psychological functioning on the part of their children. Multiple regression analysis showed that children’s psychological functioning, parents’ sleep and parenting style predicted adolescents’ sleep quality. In addition, poor sleep among mothers was associated with reduced sleep in both female and male adolescents.
Conclusions Sleep patterns of parents and their adolescent children show similarities. Therefore, sleep problems in adolescents may mirror sleep complaints among parents and within families. These conclusions might usefully inform family counselling and treatment of adults’ and adolescents’ sleep complaints.