Sleep problems are common but usually undiagnosed among children. Although sleep laboratory-based polysomnography is a gold-standard in the diagnosis of some sleep disorders, considerable time, effort, and expense have limited relevant research. Moreover, in many settings when a screen for sleep problems is desired, a sleep physician or other specialist may not be available to see each individual. Although other questionnaires have been developed to assess for sleep problems in children, few published instruments have been designed to assess for a wide range of specific sleep disorder symptoms, as opposed to problematic sleep habits, behaviors, or problems.
Sleep Disorder Questionnaire Aimed At Screening, Detection, and Diagnosis In Children
Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a parent-completed Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire (PSQ). This instrument contains two validated component scales, for sleep-related breathing disorders (SRBDs) such as obstructive sleep apnea, and for restless legs/periodic leg movements (RLS/PLMS). The SRBD scale in turn contains validated subscales for snoring, sleepiness, and daytime disruptive behavior (the latter based on DSM-IV symptoms for inattentive, hyperactive, and impulsive behavior). The PSQ, along with its embedded scales and subscales, can be used to help screen for symptoms of sleep disorders in clinical or epidemiological research when polysomnography is not feasible.
The PSQ or SRBD scale (with component snoring, sleepiness, and disruptive daytime behavior subscales) are available to license and use responsibly at no charge. Access to the SRBD scale scoring instructions and references are also made available online. Other portions of the full PSQ, aside from the SRBD and RLS/PLMS scales, may be informative in a qualitative manner and some have been used in published research, but they are not formally scored or validated at this time.
Some publications have suggested clinical utility for the PSQ and its components. However, neither these instruments nor others to our knowledge have been formally approved as a result of evidence-based medicine for application to the care of individual pediatric patients. Use of the PSQ and its components in such a manner can only be undertaken at the discretion and responsibility of the involved clinician.
- Screening for symptoms of many pediatric sleep disorders, including sleep-related breathing disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea, and periodic leg movements during sleep
- Easy to implement
- May be useful in settings where polysomnography is not feasible
- Widely used in published pediatric sleep research