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50 A qualitative study of public online discussion forums: exploring parents’ concerns about children’s sleep problems and views about online, community and primary care support
  1. Samantha Hornsey1,
  2. Catherine Hill2,
  3. Ingrid Muller1,
  4. Beth Stuart1 and
  5. Hazel Everitt1
  1. 1University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
  2. 2‘University of Southampton’ and ‘University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust’, Southampton, UK


Introduction Chronic insomnia is common in children. Behavioural interventions are effective.1 A systematic review (pending publication) revealed UK research about primary healthcare (PC) management is limited. Parents seek advice online,2 however, no published research to date has explored parents’ discussions online about PC management. This qualitative study explored (in online discussions) parents’ concerns/expectations about children’s sleep problems, awareness of online, PC, and community management resources, and perceptions of management within PC.

Methods Two public online discussion forums were searched for parents’ discussions about children’s sleep problems. Eligible threads were analysed with Braun and Clarke’s reflexive thematic analysis.

Results Ninety-three threads were included.

Five main themes were developed. Parents had many ‘concerns about children’s sleep problems’ and were emotional/practical support for one another: ‘parents experiences or sharing advice online as a resource’. Parents expressed little regarding PC but had ‘mixed experiences and perceptions of community-based PC professionals’ and ‘limited experiences and perceptions of general practice’. They often discussed ‘other resources for supporting parents with child sleep problems’ (e.g. apps, private sleep consultants).

Discussion Parents may have unmet management needs, act as resources for one another, and use non-healthcare resources, however the accuracy of these resources must be explored. The management of chronic insomnia within PC specifically must be further explored.

This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Primary Care Research. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.


  1. Mindell JA, Kuhn B, Lewin DS, et al. Behavioral treatment of bedtime problems and night wakings in infants and young children. Sleep 2006; 29(10):1263-76.

  2. Hatton REM, Gardani M. Maternal perceptions of advice on sleep in young children: How, what, and when?British Journal of Health Psychology 2018; 23(2):476-95.

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