The use of melatonin by children: parents' perspectives Academic Article uri icon


  • To explore the perceptions and experiences of parents whose children were using melatonin.A qualitative exploratory study was undertaken using face-to-face semi-structured interviews that were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Data was thematically analyzed via open coding and subsequent axial coding. Data collection continued until theoretical saturation occurred.Eleven interviews with parents of children with a neurodevelopmental disorder were conducted. Each parent perceived melatonin as effective in alleviating their child's sleep disturbance, and in restoring family functioning after many years of hardship and stress. The perceived "naturalness" of melatonin was valued by participants, who tended to favor it over other medications prescribed for sleep. The cost of melatonin was also commented on by every participant; however, all perceived the benefits of melatonin for the child and the family to outweigh the cost burden. When discussing the future, some parents were unsure of whether their child would still be using melatonin; however, others were happy for their child to continue melatonin indefinitely. In addition, many parents expressed a desire for prescribers to have greater knowledge about melatonin, and to acknowledge the positive impact melatonin had had on their lives.Parents perceive melatonin to be effective in alleviating their child's sleep disturbance and in improving their behavior, as well as restoring family functioning.

publication date

  • 2016