The impact of delayed sleep phase disorder on adolescents and their family

Koen Montie, Laury Quaedackers, Vera Perlitius, Els van der Horst, Nele L.E. Vandenbussche, Sebastiaan Overeem, Sigrid Pillen (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: We investigated the impact of delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD) on the daily lives of adolescents and their families. Method: In this qualitative study, six adolescents with DSPD, and six parents were given in-depth interviews. Using thematic analysis, we merged open codes into themes that reflected the impact of the disorder. Result: We identified five themes: (1) Impact on the adolescents' school and social life: describing the negative influence of DSPD on school performance and friendships. (2) Impact on the parents, feeling guilty and powerless: showing the consequences of many unsuccessful attempts to improve the situation, with a lack of understanding from their social support system. (3) Impact on the family, conflicts, and misunderstanding: describing the negative influence on other family members, family relationships, and home atmosphere. (4) Impact on the parents, being weary of everything: describing the effect on the parents' mood and social life. (5) Factors mediating the severity of impact, of which personal characteristics and school support seemed most important. Themes 2 to 4 were highly interrelated. Conclusions: Adolescent DSPD not only affects cognitive functioning and mental health but has a much broader impact, also affecting social life, family life, and parental well-being. This information provides new potential points of engagement for therapy, guidance, and support for these families. Greater awareness and recognition of the impact of DSPD is needed on the part of physicians as well as the general population, to increase support and reduce misunderstanding of these adolescents and their parents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-22
Number of pages8
JournalSleep Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • Adolescents
  • Delayed sleep phase syndrome
  • Family
  • Impact
  • School
  • Social functioning


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