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Infant and maternal factors associated with maternal perceptions of infant sleep problems

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Aim: Infant sleep behaviours, particularly night wakings, have been identified as one of the most common concerns of parents. Despite this, few empirical studies have examined how mothers distinguish between normative and problematic infant sleep behaviours. Methods: In this study, we examined infant and maternal factors associated with maternal perceptions of infant sleep problems in an internet sample of Canadian mothers with 6- to 12-month-old infants whose infants wake at least one night a week. Results: While infant sleep behaviours accounted for 24% of the variance in maternal perceptions of infant sleep problems, including additional infant and maternal factors in the model accounted for 43%. Factors significantly associated with maternal perceptions of infant sleep problems were infant sleep behaviours (i.e. frequent night wakings, difficulties initiating sleep), difficult infant temperament, poor maternal daytime functioning and poor maternal sleep quality. Contrary to expectations, infant daytime functioning was not predictive of maternal perceptions of infant sleep problems. Conclusions: Our findings support a focus on the family, rather than the infant, when assessing and treating infant sleep problems
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Keywords: infant sleep problems; infant temperament; maternal functioning; maternal perceptions; night wakings

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology,University of Regina, Regina,SK, Canada 2: University of Guelph, Father Involvement Research Alliance, Guelph,Ontario, Canada

Publication date: November 1, 2011

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