Sleep problems are a major prevailing concern in clinical youth populations. Research has shown that poor sleep is correlated with mental health problems, while parent-child relationships are associated with externalizing behaviors. The aim of this study was to (1) replicate these findings; (2) extend on previous research on the relationships between sleep, parent-child relationships, and externalizing problems; and (3) analyze moderating effects of parent-child relationships on the relationship between sleep and externalizing problems in youth (N = 25) ages 6 to 11 presenting to mental health treatment. Bivariate analyses indicated average objective sleep duration is related to parent-child relations and parent-child relations is related to externalizing problems. Externalizing problems was regressed on each sleep variable (i.e., total sleep disturbance, daytime sleepiness, average objective sleep duration), parent-child relationships, and their interaction. There was a marginally significant relationship between parent-child relationships and externalizing problems in the context of subjective sleep disturbance (p = .061). Furthermore average objective sleep duration was a marginally significant predictor of youth’s externalizing problems (p = .06). However, parent-child relationships were not found to moderate the effect of sleep and externalizing problems in any analyses. Overall findings imply that both sleep and parent-child relationships are correlated with each other and are important influences on youth’s externalizing behaviors. Replication in larger samples and using alternative analysis methods (e.g., mediation) is needed. Clinically, sleep problems and poor parent-child relationships should continue to be targeted to optimize mental health treatment for youth.

Keywords: clinical child population, daytime sleepiness, externalizing problems, parent-child relationships, sleep disruption, sleep duration

LLU Discipline




First Advisor

Tori R. Van Dyk

Second Advisor

Cameron L. Neece

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded


Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Parents--Family relationships; Sleep--In infancy & childhood; Sleep--Social aspects.


Doctoral Project

Page Count

64 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives