Gender differences in adolescent sleep disturbance and smartphone app delivered CBT-I treatment response: An exploratory study. (Preprint)

Sophie H Li, Bronwyn M Graham, Aliza Werner-Seilder
2020 JMIR Formative Research  
Insomnia and sleep disturbance are pervasive and debilitating conditions affecting up to 40% of adolescents. Women and girls are at greater risk of insomnia, yet differences in treatment responsiveness between genders have not been adequately investigated. Additionally, while women report greater symptom severity and burden of illness than men, this discrepancy requires further examination in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to examine gender differences in sleep symptom profiles and
more » ... reatment response in adolescents. Digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) treatment responsiveness, as indexed by changes in Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) and Global Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) scores, was compared in boys and girls (aged 12-16 years; N=49) who participated in a pilot evaluation of the Sleep Ninja smartphone app. Gender differences in self-reported baseline insomnia symptom severity (ISI), sleep quality (PSQI), and sleep characteristics derived from sleep diaries were also examined. Compared with boys, we found that girls reported greater symptom severity (P=.04) and nighttime wakefulness (P=.01 and P=.04) and reduced sleep duration (P=.02) and efficiency (P=.03), but not poorer sleep quality (P=.07), more nighttime awakenings (P=.16), or longer time to get to sleep (P=.21). However, gender differences in symptom severity and sleep duration were accounted for by boys being marginally younger in age. Treatment response to CBT-I was equivalent between boys and girls when comparing reductions in symptom severity (P=.32); there was a trend showing gender differences in improvements in sleep quality, but this was not statistically significant (P=.07). These results demonstrate the presence of gender differences in insomnia symptoms and severity in adolescents and suggest further research is required to understand gender differences in insomnia symptom profiles to inform the development of gender-specific digital interventions delivered to adolescents.
doi:10.2196/22498 pmid:33755029 fatcat:kdif3iqn5bdaxlzhx62pguyw4y