Maternal sensitivity and children’s sleep problems across early childhood

H. Ying Chuck, M. Elisabeth Koopman-Verhoeff, Amaranta D. de Haan, Joran Jongerling, Annemarie I. Luik, Rianne Kok, Nicole Lucassen, Maartje P.C.M. Luijk*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The current study aims to clarify the temporal associations between maternal sensitivity and children’s sleep problems across early childhood. This study comprised 942 Dutch mother–child dyads from the Generation R Study, a population-based prospective cohort study. Throughout early childhood, maternal sensitivity was observed in mother–child interactions and coded using Ainsworth’s 9-point rating scales (1.5 years) and the revised Erickson 7-point rating scales (3 and 4 years). Caregivers reported children’s sleep problems on the Sleep Problems Scale of the Child Behaviour Checklist 1½−5 at child ages 1.5, 3, and 6 years. Cross-lagged panel modelling revealed that higher levels of maternal sensitivity (3 years) were associated with fewer sleep problems (6 years); all other temporal associations between maternal sensitivity and children’s sleep problems were nonsignificant. In conclusion, some indication of an association of parenting with children’s sleep across early childhood was found, but there was no evidence for bidirectional associations over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1083-1096
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number9-10
Early online date12 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The general design of the Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam; the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw); the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO); and the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Rianne Kok is supported by an EUR Fellowship Grant from the Erasmus University Rotterdam. The authors thank all participants and parents, students, practitioners, hospitals, midwives, and pharmacies. The Generation R Study is conducted by the Erasmus Medical Center in close collaboration with the School of Law and Erasmus School of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Municipal Health Service Rotterdam area, the Rotterdam Homecare Foundation, and Stichting Trombosedienst and Artsenlaboratorium Rijnmond (STAR), Rotterdam.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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