Objective: To examine gender differences in sleep, fatigue, and daytime activity in a sample of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Methods: Participants included 88 children in maintenance treatment for ALL (34 girls; 54 boys). Participants wore an actigraph for 10 consecutive days (5 days pre-dexamethasone and 5 days during dexamethasone administration). Fatigue instruments were also administered. Results: Girls napped more and had less fragmented night sleep than boys did. Wake time after sleep onset was sensitive to dexamethasone administration, revealing a differential direction of response for girls and boys. No gender differences were observed for subjective fatigue or daytime activity in the total sample. Conclusions: Our preliminary findings support gender differences in the sleep of children with cancer after controlling for differences in age, treatment, and risk group. Future research that focuses on the etiology of gender differences and developing interventions will help clarify the clinical application of our findings.
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- Gender differences
- Pediatric oncology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology