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Sleep problems are associated with increased risk of physical and mental illness. Identifying risk factors is an important method of reducing public health impact. We examined the association between maternal postnatal depression (PND) and offspring adolescent sleep problems.
The sample was derived from Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) participants. A sample with complete data across all variables was used, with four outcome variables. A sensitivity analysis imputing for missing data was conducted (n = 9633).
PND was associated with increased risk of sleep problems in offspring at ages 16 and 18 years. The most robust effects were sleep problems at 18 years [adjusted odds ratio (OR) for a 1 s.d. increase in PND, 1.26, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.15–1.39, p < 0.001] and waking more often (adjusted OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05–1.25, p = 0.003). This remained after controlling for confounding variables including antenatal depression and early sleep problems in infancy.
PND is associated with adolescent offspring sleep problems. Maternal interventions should consider the child's increased risk. Early sleep screening and interventions could be introduced within this group.
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