[1415.6] Can Bullying Become a Nightmare?

Suzet Tanya Lereya, Dieter Wolke. Psychology, University of Warwick, Coventry, United Kingdom.

BACKGROUND: Sleep is partially dependent on the ability to regulate levels of arousal to relax and to reduce awareness of the environment. However, when there is an actual or perceived threat, individuals are likely to remain alert, hyper-vigilant, aroused and primed for action.
Thus bullying victimisation could interfere with sleep. To date there has been very limited research on the association between bullying involvement and sleep problems.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this research was to investigate the association between bullying status at 8 and 10 years and sleep problems at 12 years.
DESIGN/METHODS: 6438 children from Avon Longitudinal Study of Children and Adolescent (ALSPAC) birth cohort were interviewed at age 8 and 10 about bullying and at age 12 about parasomnias. Multinomial regression analyses were conducted to investigate the association between bullying status and parasomnias. Potential confounders related to bullying and sleeping, (i.e. any psychiatric diagnosis, family adversity, IQ, internalizing and externalizing problems, sexual or physical abuse, preschool parenting, domestic violence, and nightmares before 8 years) were also controlled for.
RESULTS: Overall at 12 years, 1555 (24.2%) of children had nightmares, 598 (9.3%) had night terrors, 814 (12.6%) reported sleep walking and 2315 (36.0%) had at least one type of parasomnia (nightmares, night terrors and sleep-walking). After adjusting for confounders, there was still significant associations between being a pure victim at ages 8 or 10 and having nightmares (8 years OR=1.21 (95% CI=1.03-1.42); 10 years OR=1.60 (95% CI=1.34-1.91) or night terrors (8 years OR=1.36 (95% CI=1.08-1.71); 10 years OR=1.51 (95% CI=1.16-1.95). Being a bully/victim also significantly increased the risk of any parasomnia at ages 8 or 10 (8 years OR=1.45 (95% CI=1.10-1.91); 10 years OR=1.68 (95% CI=1.25-2.25). In contrast, bullies had no increased risk for any parasomnias.
CONCLUSIONS: Being bullied at school interferes with sleeping and increases the risk of nightmares and night terrors even years later. Parents, teachers, and school counsellors need to consider parasomnias as potential signs of being bullied , ask about it and prepared to consider appropriate interventions.


Session: Platform Session: Child Abuse (10:30 AM - 12:30 PM)
Date/Time: Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 11:45 AM
Room: East 9 - Vancouver Convention Centre
Course Code: 1415


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