OBJECTIVES:

To prevent the future development of insomnia in at-risk adolescents.

METHODS:

A randomized controlled trial comparing 4 weekly insomnia prevention program with a nonactive control group. Subjects were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and 6 and 12 months after intervention. Assessors were blinded to the randomization. Analyses were conducted on the basis of the intention-to-treat principles.

RESULTS:

A total of 242 adolescents with family history of insomnia and subthreshold insomnia symptoms were randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 121; mean age = 14.7 ± 1.8; female: 51.2%) or control group (n = 121; mean age = 15.0 ± 1.7; female: 62.0%). There was a lower incidence rate of insomnia disorder (both acute and chronic) in the intervention group compared with the control group (5.8% vs 20.7%; P = .002; number needed to treat = 6.7; hazard ratio = 0.29; 95% confidence interval: 0.12–0.66; P = .003) over the 12-month follow-up. The intervention group had decreased insomnia symptoms (P = .03) and reduced vulnerability to stress-related insomnia (P = .03) at postintervention and throughout the 12-month follow-up. Decreased daytime sleepiness (P = .04), better sleep hygiene practices (P = .02), and increased total sleep time (P = .05) were observed at postintervention. The intervention group also reported fewer depressive symptoms at 12-month follow-up (P = .02) compared with the control group.

CONCLUSIONS:

A brief cognitive behavioral program is effective in preventing the onset of insomnia and improving the vulnerability factors and functioning outcomes.

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