Factor analysis of the children's sleep habits questionnaire among preschool children with autism spectrum disorder

Anat Zaidman-Zait*, Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, Eric Duku, Teresa Bennett, Peter Szatmari, Pat Mirenda, Isabel Smith, Tracy Vaillancourt, Joanne Volden, Charlotte Waddell, Connor Kerns, Mayada Elsabbagh, Stelios Georgiades, Wendy J. Ungar, Eric Fombonne, Wendy Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Sleep problems are prevalent among young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire (CSHQ) is commonly used for assessment, but there are outstanding questions regarding its optimal measurement model. Aims: To examine the factor structure of the CSHQ in preschool children with ASD, and relationships between CSHQ factors and children's emotional, cognitive, and behavioral dysregulation. Methods and Procedures: Participants included 4- to 5-year-olds with ASD (n = 281). Confirmatory factor analysis was used to examine whether two previously reported CSHQ factor structures provided adequate fit to the sample data. Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was used examine alternative models. Regression analyses were used to examine how CSHQ factor scores explained variance in dysregulation symptoms, measured by the Child Behavior Checklist. Results: Previously reported factor models in children with ASD were not confirmed, but a novel five-factor model identified using EFA provided excellent fit to the sample data. Sleep factors were generally not correlated with autism symptoms but were associated with aggression, anxiety/depression and attention problems, with evidence of specificity in these relationships. Conclusions: The proposed CSHQ five-factor model may be useful in future studies of sleep problems in young children with ASD.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103548
JournalResearch in Developmental Disabilities
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Children's Sleep Habits Questionnaire
  • Emotional and behavioral problems
  • Sleep problems


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