Triple Vulnerability? Circadian Tendency, Sleep Deprivation and Adolescence

Overview

There is an urgent need to identify modifiable mechanisms contributing to risk and vulnerability among youth. The investigators test the hypothesis that eveningness, the tendency to go to sleep late and wake late, is an important contributor to, and even cause of, vicious cycles that escalate vulnerability and risk among youth. This study seeks to determine whether two interventions to reduce eveningness can reduce risk and confer resilience in critical aspects of health, development and functioning in youth.

Study Type

  • Study Type: Interventional
  • Study Design
    • Allocation: Randomized
    • Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
    • Primary Purpose: Treatment
    • Masking: Triple (Participant, Care Provider, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Study Primary Completion Date: December 2017

Detailed Description

Teens who exhibit a circadian tendency toward eveningness ('night-owls') follow a delayed sleep schedule, increasing activity later in the day and both going to sleep and getting up later, compared to morning-types ('larks'). The circadian tendency toward eveningness during adolescence arises from a confluence of psychosocial, behavioral and biological factors and is an important contributor to, and maybe even cause of, vicious cycles that escalate vulnerability and risk for poor health and major forms of psychopathology. Indeed, an evening circadian tendency has been associated with a wide range of adverse effects including poorer health, poorer academic performance, poorer self-regulation, greater use of substances, greater tendency for impulsivity, more depression and anxiety, greater emotional instability and more aggressive and antisocial behavior. While the biological shift toward eveningness during puberty may be difficult to modify, the psychosocial and behavioral contributors are modifiable. Moreover, modifying these contributors will eliminate key factors that exacerbate the biological shift. The proposed research will advance current knowledge on the role of eveningness as a mechanism contributing to poorer outcomes during adolescence. The investigators aim to reduce eveningness among 10-18 year olds via an intervention which integrates evidence-based treatments derived from basic research on the circadian system (Treatment 1) compared to a psychoeducational intervention that highlights the interplay between sleep, diet, exercise and stress (Treatment 2). The investigators will randomly allocate adolescents with an evening circadian tendency, and who are 'at risk' in at least one of five health domains (emotional, cognitive, behavioral, social, physical), to either: (a) Treatment 1 (n = 86) or (b) Treatment 2 (n = 86). Measures will be taken pre-treatment, post-treatment, and at 6 and 12 months post-treatment. This research is a first step within a longer term plan to accelerate knowledge on the potentially powerful positive effects, for the developing neural system, of simple, disseminable psychosocial interventions specifically designed to target modifiable risk factors across adolescence.

Interventions

  • Behavioral: Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Insomnia, Interpersonal and Social Rhythms Therapy, Chronotherapy
  • Behavioral: Psychoeducation

Arms, Groups and Cohorts

  • Experimental: Treatment 1
    • Integrates evidence-based treatments derived from basic research on the circadian system
  • Active Comparator: Treatment 2
    • Psychoeducation on the inter-associations between sleep, diet, exercise and stress.

Clinical Trial Outcome Measures

Primary Measures

  • Total sleep time (TST) average on weeknights via Daily Sleep Diary
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
  • Average bedtime on weeknights measured via Daily Sleep Diary
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
  • Morning Eveningness preference measured via Childrens Morningness Eveningness Preference Scale
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
  • Composite Score for Cognitive Domain
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • A composite score of the Attentional Control Scale and Youth Social Adjustment Scale (school/cognitive items only) will be used to assess functioning in the Cognitive domain.
  • Composite Score for Behavioral Domain
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • A composite score of the Alcohol and Substance Use (Past 30 days items only) and Sensation Seeking Scale will be used to assess functioning in the Behavioral domain.
  • Composite Score for Emotional Domain
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • A composite score of the Child Depression Rating Scale and Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children will be used to assess functioning in the Emotional domain.
  • Score for Social Domain
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • The Youth Social Adjustment Scale (social items only) will be used to assess functioning in the Social domain.
  • Composite Score for Physical Domain
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • A composite score of the Modifiable Activity Questionnaire and Physical Health Questionnaire will be used to assess functioning in the Physical domain.

Secondary Measures

  • Sleepiness scale
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • embedded within the School Sleep Habits Survey
  • Dim Light Melatonin Onset
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment
  • Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
  • Discrepancy between weeknights and weekends for Total Sleep Time, Bedtime, and Waketime via Daily Sleep Diary
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
  • Composite Risk Score of Functioning in Five Health-relevant Domains (Emotional, Cognitive, Behavioral, Social and Physical)
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment
    • Measured via Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • Child Behavior Checklist
    • Time Frame: Change from baseline to post treatment, which is an average of 9 weeks after the beginning of treatment, and to 6-month and 12-month followups
    • Parent Measure

Participating in This Clinical Trial

Inclusion criteria.

1. Scoring within the lowest quartile of the Children's Morningness-Eveningness Preferences Scale (CMEP; 27 or lower) and a 7-day sleep diary showing a sleep onset time of of 10:40 pm or later for 10-13 year olds, 11 pm or later for 14-16 year olds, and 11:20 pm or later for 17-18 year olds at least 3 nights per week. Must have had the current pattern of late bedtimes for the last 3 months.

2. 'At risk' in one of the five health domains: emotional, behavioral, social, physical, and cognitive. Emotional risk will be operationalized as a score of 4 or above on any of the following items on the Child Depression Rating Scale: Difficulty Having Fun, Social Withdrawal, Irritability, Depressed Feelings, Excessive Weeping, or a T-score of 61 or above on the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASQ), based on age group (10-11 years, 12-15 year, 16-19 years) using the MASC-10 Profile. Behavioral risk will be operationalized as a Sensation Seeking Scale score greater than 3.93 for males ages 10-13, greater than 3.19 for females 10-13, greater than 4.07 for males 14-18, or greater than 3.19 for females 14-18; taking ADHD medication or Kiddie Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia for School-Age Children (KSADs) diagnosis of ADHD; current alcohol or substance abuse; or past alcohol or substance dependence. Social and cognitive risk will be defined as "worse" than others the teen's age in one or more social behavior from Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) Section VI or failing one or more academic class from CBCL Section VII, respectively. Physical risk will be operationalized as a Physical Health Questionnaire-15 score of 4 or above, six or more days of school absences, or a BMI above the 85th percentile for the participant's sex and age.

3. Age between 10 and 18 and living with a parent or guardian and and attending a class/job by 9am at least 3 days per week;

4. English language fluency;

5. Able and willing to give informed assent.

Exclusion criteria.

1. An active, progressive physical illness (e.g., cancer, respiratory disorder) or neurological degenerative disease directly related to the onset and course of the sleep disturbance;

2. Evidence from clinical diagnosis or report by youth or parent of sleep apnea, restless legs or periodic limb movements during sleep. Youth presenting with provisional diagnoses of any of these disorders (e.g., sleep apnea) will be referred for a non-study polysomnography (PSG) evaluation at the parent's discretion and will be enrolled only if the diagnosis is disconfirmed;

3. Mental retardation, autism spectrum disorder, or other significantly impairing pervasive developmental disorder. Based on previous recruitment experiences in our youth depression study, we expect this exclusion to be invoked very infrequently (once every few years);

4. Bipolar disorder or schizophrenia or another current Axis I disorder if there is a significant risk of harm and/or decompensation if treatment of that comorbid condition is delayed as a function of participating in any stage of this study. Otherwise, we will allow all other comorbid psychiatric conditions to (i) to maximize representativeness and (ii) because a byproduct may be that the treatment constitutes a helpful 'transdiagnostic' treatment for youth across psychiatric disorders.

5. A medication-free group may be difficult to recruit and would likely be unrepresentative. Hence, participants will not be excluded on the basis of stable use of medications (> 4 weeks). The exception was use of hypnotics and other medications known to alter sleep (e.g., melatonin).

6. History of substance dependence in the past six months;

7. Current suicide risk sufficient to preclude treatment on an outpatient basis.

Gender Eligibility: All

Minimum Age: 10 Years

Maximum Age: 18 Years

Are Healthy Volunteers Accepted: No

Investigator Details

  • Lead Sponsor
    • University of California, Berkeley
  • Provider of Information About this Clinical Study
    • Principal Investigator: Allison Harvey, Professor of Clinical Psychology – University of California, Berkeley
  • Overall Official(s)
    • Allison G Harvey, PhD, Principal Investigator, University of California, Berkeley

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