Sleep Restriction Alters Children’s Positive Emotional Responses but Effects are Moderated by Anxiety

Alfano, Candice A., Bower, Jo, Harvey, Allison, Beidel, Deborah, Sharp, Carla and Palmer, Cara A. (2020) Sleep Restriction Alters Children’s Positive Emotional Responses but Effects are Moderated by Anxiety. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. ISSN 0021-9630 (In Press)

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Background: An abundance of cross-sectional research links inadequate sleep with poor emotional health, but experimental studies in children are rare. Further, the impact of sleep loss is not uniform across individuals, and pre-existing anxiety might potentiate the effects of poor sleep on children’s emotional functioning. Methods: A sample of 53 children (7-11 years, M=9.0; 56% female) completed multi-modal, assessments in the lab when rested and after two nights of sleep restriction (7h and 6h in bed, respectively). Sleep was monitored with polysomnography and actigraphy. Subjective reports of affect and arousal, psychophysiological reactivity and regulation, and objective emotional expression were examined during two emotional processing tasks, including one where children were asked to suppress their emotional responses. Results: After sleep restriction, deleterious alterations were observed in children’s affect, emotional arousal, facial expressions, and emotion regulation. These effects were primarily detected in response to positive emotional stimuli. The presence of anxiety symptoms moderated most of the alterations in emotional processing observed after sleep restriction. Conclusions: Results suggest inadequate sleep preferentially impacts positive compared to negative emotion in pre-pubertal children and that pre-existing anxiety symptoms amplify these effects. Implications for children’s everyday socio-emotional lives and long-term affective risk are highlighted.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sleep,anxiety,emotion,emotional expression,emotion regulation
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 23 May 2020 00:07
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 23:57

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