VANCOUVER – Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may reduce the incidence of insomnia symptoms in adolescents, according to study data presented at the 2019 World Sleep Congress, September 20-25, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

The study enrolled 242 adolescents (aged 12-18 years) with a family history of insomnia. All participants had subthreshold insomnia symptoms, reporting insomnia fewer than 3 times per week but at least once per month. Patients were randomly assigned 1:1 to either the group-based CBT intervention condition (n=121) or the non-active control condition (n=121). The group-based CBT intervention met weekly for 4 weeks. Study assessments were conducted at baseline and at 2 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months postintervention. Insomnia incidence was ascertained through clinical interview, and insomnia symptom severity was determined with the Insomnia Severity Index.

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The mean (SD) participant age was 14.9 (1.76) years, and 43.4% were boys. The majority (94%) of patients assigned to receive CBT completed at least 3 of the 4 sessions. Attrition was low, with 218 (90.1%), 219 (90.5%), and 206 (85.1%) adolescents attending the 2-week, 6-month, and 12-month assessments, respectively. Over the 12-month follow-up, a lower incidence of both acute and chronic insomnia was observed in the intervention group compared with the control group (P =.001). At 2 weeks, significant improvements on the Insomnia Severity Index were observed in the intervention group over the control group (P =.024). These improvements were maintained at the 6- and 12-month follow-up timepoints. Decreased incidence of stress-related insomnia (P =.012), dysfunctional beliefs toward sleep (P =.048), and daytime sleepiness (P =.043) were also observed in the intervention group over the control group at 12 months.

These data support the use of a short-term CBT program to prevent adolescent insomnia. Further research is needed to identify the most effective means of introducing insomnia-focused CBT to at-risk adolescents. School-level CBT initiatives at level may have utility in reducing the insomnia burden among youths, investigators wrote.

Reference

Chan NY, Li SX, Zhang J, et al. Can we prevent insomnia: brief cognitive behavioral therapy in at-risk adolescents. Presented at: 2019 World Sleep Congress; September 20-25, 2019; Vancouver, Canada. Insomnia board 132.

This article originally appeared on Medical Bag