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Child sleep: A systemic exploration of the knowledge and experience of educational psychologists, parents and primary school staff

27 November 2019

Author: Sylvie Furlong - Doctorate in Educational Psychology (DEdPsy), Cardiff University, 2019


The present study aimed to explore the current views, perceptions, and knowledge of child sleep difficulties amongst primary school staff, parents of primary school aged children, and educational psychologists.

Three hundred and ninety-seven participants took part in the study, all of which were aged eighteen or over and lived in the United Kingdom.

Each participant took part in an online questionnaire to gather her/his views and experiences of child sleep and child sleep difficulties. A mixed method design was used to collect both quantitative and qualitative data, which allowed for the data to be compared extensively between groups.

The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis. The results revealed variations of sleep knowledge and age-related sleep durations across all three groups, with EPs over or underestimating by two and a half hours more frequently than any other group.

A desire and requirement for sleep training was evident amongst all three groups, and EPs reported that very few educational psychology services or doctorate courses were providing such training.

A high proportion of both EPs and school staff reported frequently encountering the result of sleep difficulties in their work.

Correspondingly, a consensus for sleep information to be integrated into the curriculum was echoed across the three participant groups.

The findings are discussed in relation to the current child sleep research and practical and future directions for the EP profession are proposed.



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