The experience of sleep problems for adolescents with depression in short-term psychological therapy

Jernslett, Maria, Thackeray, Lisa, Orchard, Faith and Midgley, Nick (2021) The experience of sleep problems for adolescents with depression in short-term psychological therapy. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry. ISSN 1359-1045

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivatives.

Download (378kB)


A growing body of literature demonstrates a strong relationship between sleep disturbances and depression in adolescence. In spite of this, few studies have explored how adolescents with depression experience sleep problems. The present study aimed to qualitatively explore the experience of sleep problems in adolescents with depression, including their understanding of how a psychological therapy impacted on these sleep difficulties. The sample included 12 adolescents with sleep disturbances who had been offered treatment for depression through a large, multi-centre, randomised controlled trial. Semi-structured interviews conducted after treatment and 1-year post treatment were analysed using thematic analysis. Two main themes were identified. Both themes demonstrated how an overarching desire to escape impacted the adolescents’ sleep in distinct ways; ‘thinking about the ‘bad stuff’’ was characterised by ruminative thinking, which prevented sleep, whereas ‘sleep as an escape’ indicated a desire to sleep excessively due to feelings of helplessness. Overall, the findings demonstrate a nuanced relationship between sleep and depression in adolescence, and imply that the underlying meaning of the sleep difficulties for each young person should be considered in the delivery of therapy for adolescent depression.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2021 08:53
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2021 13:00

View download statistics for this item

📧 Request an update