Evening Preferences In Children Is Associated with Increased Behavioural and Emotional Problems.
CPS ePoster Library. Tesfaye R. Jun 25, 2015; 99233; 172
Rackeb Tesfaye
Rackeb Tesfaye
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Evening Preferences In Children Is Associated with Increased Behavioural and Emotional Problems.
Authors: Rackeb Tesfaye, BSc, Soukaina Paquin, BSc, Jessica Safarian, MA, Reut Gruber, PhD*
*Correspondence: reut.gruber@douglas.mcgill.ca
Department of Psychiatry McGill University, Montreal, QC H3A 1A1
(514) 761-6131 Ext: 3476

The preferred timing of a sleep-wake rhythm is considerably varied between individuals. Self described preferences for being active in the morning or evening is referred to as a circadian tendency and also as “morningness” or “eveningness”, respectively. Literature on adults and adolescents associate eveningness with higher proneness to emotional and behavioural problems. However, little research has been conducted in regards to the potential health affects of circadian preference in a pediatric population. Hence, the objective of this study was to investigate the association between circadian tendencies and emotion and behaviour in children.

24 typically developing elementary school children completed the Morningness and Eveningness Questionnaire (MEQ), with higher scores on the MEQ corresponding to a morningness preference and lower scores to an eveningness preference.

Externalizing and internalizing problems were measured using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and Teacher Report Form (TRF). Pearson correlation analyses were conducted between scores on the MEQ and reports on the CBCL and TRF.

Results indicated that children reporting evening preference had significantly higher social problems and aggressive behaviour, as reported by parents using the CBCL. Additionally, eveningness was also significantly associated with higher internalizing problems, specifically with affective problems, and with withdrawal/depression behaviour as reported by teachers using the TRF.

The results of this study are in line with adult and adolescent literature, suggesting children with an evening preference are more prone to emotional and behavioural problems. Understanding the potential effects of pediatric circadian tendencies is crucial to the development of successful preventative and intervention measures promoting the well being of children. Successful knowledge translation of this research can lead to educating pediatricians and health care providers in regards to conducting more comprehensive assessments and diagnosis, while providing parents with supportive information needed to help balance extreme circadian tendencies in their children. Additionally, it is imperative that such knowledge is integrated within educational curriculum's, as school-based interventions can directly address and educate students about the importance of their sleep wake rhythm, giving them the tools to transition into healthy adulthood.
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