Examining factors associated with sleep quality in parents of children 4–10 years with autism spectrum disorder Academic Article uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder often report poorer sleep compared to parents of typically developing children. When parents do not obtain enough quality sleep, functioning may be compromised placing the onus of care on already stressed parents. However, improving sleep duration may not improve sleep quality and is not always feasible. This study aimed to measure sleep quality in parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, determine if stress and children's sleep are associated with sleep quality and whether resources, appraisals, and coping moderate these relationships. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multivariable regression was used to determine the effects of stress and children's sleep problems on sleep quality and test modifying effects. RESULTS: Mean (SD) Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores was 8.81 (3.76), with 77.6% of parents scoring above the clinical cut-off. Mean (SD) Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire scores was 54.03 (8.32), with 96.3% of parents rating their child's sleep above the clinical cut-off. Children's sleep was the only significant predictor and none of the expected effect modifiers were significant. CONCLUSION: Children's sleep may be an important target to improve parent sleep quality but requires systematic assessment with interventional research. Implications for rehabilitationBoth parents and their 4-10-year-old children with ASD experience high levels of sleep disturbances.Clinicians can start the conversation early with parents about their children's sleep by providing them with information to increase awareness and recognize healthy sleep habits in their children.Clinicians are important in the assessment, management, and evaluation of pediatric sleep problems, which may have significant spillover effects on parents of children with ASD.There is a need for more resources and training to be available to clinicians to assess children and their parents for sleep problems, which could extend beyond the assessment of sleep and consider parent's daytime functioning and mental health.


  • Micsinszki, Samantha K
  • Ballantyne, Marilyn
  • Cleverley, Kristin
  • Green, Pamela
  • Brennenstuhl, Sarah
  • Stremler, Robyn

publication date

  • August 18, 2022