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date: 08 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

An emerging literature has identified consistencies across the social patterning of sleep behaviors and disorders among adult and child populations. This chapter provides an overview of the social characteristics of sleep patterns among youth. In particular, we investigate three dimensions of the social patterning of sleep—ethnicity, household composition, and neighborhood of residence. For each category, we review what is known in the literature from infancy through adolescence. While there are still gaps in the scientific understanding of the social determinants of child and adolescent sleep, several clear patterns emerged. Low socioeconomic status (SES), minority ethnic background, family conflict, and neighborhood disadvantage predict negative sleep outcomes in children and adolescents, although the strength of these associations varies by age. Given the importance of sleep for healthy development of children, these findings suggest sleep is a possible contributor to health and developmental disparities and highlight the importance of improving sleep in efforts to promote well-being for all persons.

Keywords: social determinants of sleep, infants, toddlers, children, adolescents

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