Sleep to Internalizing Pathway in Young Adolescents (SIPYA): A proposed model

Akbar SA, Mattfeld AT, Laird AR, McMakin DL, Neurosci Biobehav Rev :104780 (2022).


The prevalence of internalizing disorders, i.e., anxiety and depressive disorders, spikes in adolescence and has been increasing amongst adolescents despite the existence of evidence-based treatments, highlighting the need for advancing theories on how internalizing disorders emerge. The current review presents a theoretical model, called the Sleep to Internalizing Pathway in Young Adolescents (SIPYA) Model, to explain how risk factors, namely sleep-related problems (SRPs), are prospectively associated with internalizing disorders in adolescence. Specifically, SRPs during late childhood and early adolescence, around the initiation of pubertal development, contribute to the interruption of intrinsic brain networks dynamics, both within the default mode network and between the default mode network and other networks in the brain. This interruption leaves adolescents vulnerable to repetitive negative thought, such as worry or rumination, which then increases vulnerability to internalizing symptoms and disorders later in adolescence. Sleep-related behaviors are observable, modifiable, low-stigma, and beneficial beyond treating internalizing psychopathology, highlighting the intervention potential associated with understanding the neurodevelopmental impact of SRPs around the transition to adolescence. This review details support for the SIPYA Model, as well as gaps in the literature and future directions.