The present school-based study investigated the nighttime fears of 511 children and adolescents, aged 8-16 years. Participants were assessed using a structured interview about the frequency, content, severity, harm expectations, coping strategies, and disclosure of nighttime fears. Results indicated that nighttime fears are a common experience, with nearly two-thirds (64.2%) of children and adolescents reporting nighttime fears. Fear of intruders/home invasion was the most frequently reported nighttime fear. Females more frequently reported nighttime fears than males (72.9% and 54.6%, respectively) and a greater number of children reported nighttime fears compared to adolescents (79.4% and 48.8%, respectively). Nighttime fears were given moderate severity ratings, and harm expectations were most strongly associated with 'personal security' fears. Respondents reported a variety of coping strategies to manage their nighttime fears with self-control/distraction techniques being the most common. Most respondents reported disclosing their nighttime fear(s) to another person. The clinical implications of these findings and the methodological limitations are discussed.

, , , ,,
Behaviour Research and Therapy
Department of Psychology

Gordon, J., King, N., Gullone, E., Muris, P., & Ollendick, T. (2007). Nighttime fears of children and adolescents: Frequency, content, severity, harm expectations, disclosure, and coping behaviours. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 45(10), 2464–2472. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2007.03.013