(HealthDay News) – Youth with persistent and/or current sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) have increased odds and greater rates of impairment on behavior and adaptive functioning scales.

Michelle M. Perfect, PhD, from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and colleagues conducted a study involving 263 youth that examined the rate of impairment on behavioral and adaptive functioning in youth with persistent and/or current SDB. Neurobehavioral data at two time points approximately five years apart were collected as part of a sleep apnea study. Behavior was assessed using the Behavior Assessment Scale for Children-Second Edition Parent Report Form (BASC-PRF), self-report, and the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-Second Edition (ABAS-II).

At the initial and follow-up examinations, the researchers identified SDB in 70 and 44 youth, respectively. SDB correlated with significantly increased odds and greater impairment rates on the following components of the BASC-PRF: externalizing problems, internalizing problems, adaptive behaviors, and behavioral symptoms (odds ratios, 3.95, 2.84, 2.97, and 4.96, respectively). SDB also correlated with increased likelihood and impairment rates on the social and general adaptive composites of the ABAS-II (odds ratios, 2.72 and 2.87, respectively).

“If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea negatively impacts a youth’s ability to regulate their behaviors, emotions, and social interactions,” Perfect said in a statement. “These behaviors can interfere with their ability to care for themselves and engage in socially appropriate behaviors – skills that are needed to be successful in school.”

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