Eye of the beholder? Maternal mental health and the quality of infant sleep
Transactional models of parenting and infant sleep call attention to bidirectional associations among parenting, the biosocial environment, and infant sleep behaviors. Although night waking and bedtime fussing are normative during infancy and early childhood, they can be challenging for parents. The current study, conducted in the United States between 2003 and 2009, examined concurrent and longitudinal associations between maternal mental health and infant sleep during the first year. Concurrent associations at 6 and 12 months and longitudinal associations from 6 to 12 months were studied in a non-clinic referred sample of 171 economically and culturally diverse families. Mothers with poorer mental health reported that their infants had more night waking and bedtime distress and were more bothered by these sleep issues. Associations between infant sleep and maternal mental health were moderated by culture (Hispanic/Asian vs. other) and by stressors that included high parenting stress, more stressful life events, and low family income. Individual differences in maternal well-being may color mothers' interpretations of infants' sleep behaviors. It may be prudent to intervene to support maternal mental health when infants are referred for sleep problems.
Volume (Year): 79 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
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