Sleep and Preteen Delinquency: Is the Association Robust to ADHD Symptomatology and ADHD Diagnosis?

Dylan B. Jackson, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Both qualitative and quantitative aspects of sleep have been linked to multiple dimensions of well-being. An emerging body of research has also revealed that poor sleep during adolescence can increase the likelihood of delinquent involvement. The contribution of early sleep difficulties to later delinquency, however, is often overlooked. Furthermore, the role that ADHD symptomatology and/or diagnosis might play in this association has not been adequately addressed, despite findings suggesting that both sleep disturbances and delinquent involvement are more common among children with ADHD symptomatology or an ADHD diagnosis. The current study examines the associations between sleep behaviors and preteen delinquency, and the extent to which ADHD symptomatology and/or diagnosis might inform these associations. Data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) were employed to explore these associations and logistic regression techniques were utilized to analyze the data. The findings reveal that both sleep problems and sleep duration are associated with the odds of ADHD symptomatology, an ADHD diagnosis, and preteen delinquency. Even so, the results also suggest that persistent sleep problems are not significantly associated with the odds of preteen delinquency once ADHD symptomatology and diagnosis are taken into account. The influence of sleep duration on preteen delinquency, however, is robust to the association between ADHD measures and preteen delinquency. Poor sleep, therefore, appears to be an important modifiable risk factor for preteen delinquency. Even so, future investigations into the link between sleep and delinquency should account for developmental risks and/or disorders that commonly co-occur with sleep problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)585-595
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology


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