‘Setting kids up for life: A digital program for improving the sleep and mental health of children aged 3-12 years’
Centre for Mental Health and School of Applied Psychology
Griffith University, QLD
0-12 years Mental Health Research
“Sleep problems have been shown to be a strong risk factor for the later development of a range of mental health disorders.”
Caroline Donovan is a Clinical Psychologist and Professor within the School of Applied Psychology and the Centre for Mental Health at Griffith University. She has received over $9 million worth of funding throughout her career and has published 13 book chapters and 95 peer reviewed journal articles. She is an Associate Editor of Anxiety, Stress and Coping, and is currently on the Editorial Boards of Child Psychiatry and Human Development and Australian Psychologist.
She has supervised 18 PhD students, 10 DPsych students, 16 MPsych students and 30 Honours students through to completion. She also has a small private practice.
Sleep problems in children aged 3-12 years are highly prevalent, chronic and put children at risk for numerous mental health, physical health, academic and cognitive problems in both the short- and long-term. We have developed a group-based, parent-focused, program for preschool (3-5 years) sleep problems and demonstrated that it not only improves child sleep, but that it also leads to significant improvements in anxiety and behaviour problems, and prevents the later development of anxiety. The fact that this program not only improves sleep, but also behaviour and anxiety, means that it has the potential to significantly improve the lives of young Australian children and their families. This study will make the program more accessible to families by a) extending the program to include children up to 12 years of age with sleep problems and b) placing the program online to make it easier for families to complete.
The aim of the study is therefore to test the effectiveness of an online, parent-focused treatment program for children with behavioural sleep problems (aged 3-12 years), compared to a group of children on a waitlist who do not receive treatment. Our end goal, if this program is found to be efficacious, is to disseminate the program nationally to all Australian families through our Momentum online digital mental health assessment and treatment platform.
Co-investigators: Professor Sonja March, Professor Lisa Meltzer, Professor Laurie McLay, Professor Lara Farrell, Professor Allison Waters and Professor Robert Ware.