Child Executive Control as a Moderator of the Longitudinal Association between Sleep Problems and Subsequent Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder Symptoms

Katherine M. Kidwell, Maren Hankey, Jennifer Mize Nelson, Kimberly Andrews Espy, Timothy D. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Objective To examine the longitudinal associations among sleep, executive control (EC), and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms in childhood. Methods In this longitudinal study (N=271), parents answered questions about sleep problems when children were 3 years old, children completed a comprehensive EC task battery at 4.5 years, and teachers completed standardized measures of child ADHD symptoms in 4th grade. Results Latent moderated structural equation models demonstrated that sleep problems at 3 years and EC deficits at 4.5 years were associated with ADHD symptoms in 4th grade. EC moderated the relationship between sleep problems and hyperactivity/impulsivity, such that children with both sleep problems and poor EC were particularly at risk for hyperactivity/impulsivity. Conclusions Sleep problems and EC deficits early in development were associated with increased risk for ADHD symptoms in elementary school. Early assessment and intervention to promote healthy sleep and EC development may be helpful in ADHD prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1144-1155
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • ADHD
  • child
  • executive control
  • sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this