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Approaches to measure sleep-wake disturbances in adolescents with cancer. J Pediatr Nurs 2009 Aug;24(4):255-69



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-67650707903   9 Citations


Sleep-wake disturbances commonly occur in healthy adolescents. Although diminished sleep and sleepiness seem normal for healthy adolescents, adolescents with chronic illnesses face additional disruption in the quantity and quality of their sleep as a result of the disease process, ongoing treatment, and associated symptoms. Little is known about how sleep in adolescents is affected by cancer, cancer treatment, and concurrent symptoms or about the consequences of sleep disruption for these patients. Although there is limited evidence to guide sleep measurement in adolescents with cancer, researchers may learn effective strategies from sleep studies completed with adolescents with other conditions. This systematic review examines how researchers have measured sleep using actigraphy, diary, and/or self-report questionnaires in diverse samples of healthy and ill adolescents. Psychometric properties are reported for nine self-report sleep questionnaires that were used in studies with mostly healthy adolescent samples. Nineteen studies provide evidence that actigraphy can be successfully and reliably used as an effective objective method to measure sleep in adolescents, including those with chronic illness. Daily sleep diaries were used less frequently to collect data from adolescents. The suitability of these techniques for the study of cancer-related sleep-wake disturbances in adolescents as well as strategies to enhance the reliability, validity, and feasibility of these measures will be discussed. Future sleep research in adolescents affected by cancer can be strengthened by the consistent use of sleep terminology, measurement of key sleep parameters, and efforts to develop and use psychometrically sound instruments. Oncology clinicians should be ready to add emerging evidence from sleep research to their care of adolescents with cancer.

Author List

Erickson JM


Jeanne M. Erickson PhD, RN Associate Professor in the College of Nursing department at University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Quality of Life
Self Disclosure
Sleep Wake Disorders
Surveys and Questionnaires