Sleep difficulties are associated with parent report of sluggish cognitive tempo

Taylor A. Koriakin, E. Mark Mahone, Lisa A. Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Sleep disturbance is considered both a behavioral symptom of and a contributor to functional difficulties in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The construct of sluggish cognitive tempo (SCT) has also been linked to ADHD; however, little is known regarding the effects of sleep specifically on SCT symptoms. This study examined the association between parent-reported sleep disturbance and parent-and teacher-reported SCT, while controlling for the effects of ADHD and mood symptoms. Method: Participants included 746 clinically referred children (65% male, age range: 5-18 years) with both parent and teacher ratings assessing symptoms of ADHD, mood symptoms (depression, anxiety), and SCT. Parents/caregivers also rated their child's sleep problems with regard to 4 core concerns: falling asleep, sleep restlessness, difficulty waking, and breathing difficulties. The SCT scale included three empirically derived subscales: sleepy/sluggish, low initiation/persistence, and daydreamy. Results: After accounting for age, medication status, ADHD symptoms, depressive symptoms, and anxiety, sleep problems accounted for a small but significant proportion of additional variance in the prediction of parent-reported sleepy/sluggish SCT. Difficulty waking showed the strongest associations with parent-reported SCT. There were no significant relationships found between parent-reported sleep difficulties and teacher-reported SCT. Conclusions: Some elements of sluggishness and lethargy inherent to the SCT construct may be associated with sleep difficulties, even after accounting for ADHD and mood symptoms; however, these associations are not consistent across SCT subscales and sleep problem domains.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)717-723
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015


  • ADHD
  • Attention
  • Childhood
  • Executive function
  • Processing speed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of 'Sleep difficulties are associated with parent report of sluggish cognitive tempo'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this