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Volume 10 No. 07
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Restless Legs Syndrome, Sleep, and Quality of Life among Adolescents and Young Adults

Graciela E. Silva, Ph.D., M.P.H.1; James L. Goodwin, Ph.D.2,3,4; Kimberly D. Vana, D.N.P.5; Monica M. Vasquez, M.P.H.2; Peter G. Wilcox, B.S.N., D.N.P.5; Stuart F. Quan, M.D., F.A.A.S.M.2,3,6
1University of Arizona College of Nursing, Tucson, AZ; 2Arizona Respiratory Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; 3College of Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; 4Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ; 5College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ; 6Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA


Clinical reports in children implicate restless legs syndrome (RLS) with sleep and behavior problems. However, population-based studies on this association in adolescents and young adults are limited. Furthermore, few studies have evaluated the association between symptoms consistent with RLS and quality of life (QoL).

Study Design:

This cross-sectional study included 214 Caucasian and Hispanic adolescents and young adults aged 12-20 years. Symptoms consistent with RLS were based on four essential criteria and if the symptoms occurred ≥ 5 days/ month. Trouble falling asleep was present if reported “yes, still have the problem.” Quality of life (QoL) was assessed using the Pediatric QoL Inventory. Three summary QoL scores ranging from 0-100 were evaluated; higher scores indicated better QoL.


Participants were 50% male and 68.1% Caucasian. Prevalence of RLS was 8.4% (n = 18). RLS was associated with trouble falling asleep (OR = 3.1, p = 0.049), and trouble falling asleep was associated with worse Psychosocial Health scores (Coeff. −5.6, p = 0.004) and Total Scale scores for quality of life (Coeff. −4.6, p = 0.007).


The prevalence of symptoms consistent with RLS in this community-based sample of adolescents and young adults, aged 12-20, is comparable to rates reported in older cohorts. Symptoms consistent with RLS may be associated with trouble falling asleep and psychosocial distress that may contribute to a lower health-related quality of life.


Silva GE, Goodwin JL, Vana KD, Vasquez MM, Wilcox PG, Quan SF. Restless legs syndrome, sleep, and quality of life among adolescents and young adults. J Clin Sleep Med 2014;10(7):779-786.

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