The bidirectional association between sleep problems and anxiety symptoms in adolescents: A TRAILS report
- Adolescence is a sensitive period for the development of sleep problems as well as anxiety symptoms.
- Previous studies have found a bidirectional association between sleep problems and anxiety symptoms among adolescents.
- These studies did not distinguish differences between persons from differences within persons, which could have led to erroneous conclusions regarding the underlying causal mechanisms.
- We examined bidirectional associations between sleep problems and anxiety symptoms throughout adolescence and young adulthood, while differentiating between-person effects from within-person effects.
- Participants who reported poor sleep tended to report high anxiety as well.
- Within persons, sleep problems tended to precede anxiety in early and mid-adolescence, but not in late adolescence and young adulthood. No effects were found in the other way direction.
- The findings suggest that sleep-oriented interventions in early adolescence may not only improve sleep, but also prevent the development of anxiety symptoms.
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