Santa Barbara
58° F
Clear
Clear
Santa Maria
49° F
Clear
Clear
San Luis Obispo
54° F
Clear
Clear
Ventura
52° F
Clear
Clear

Parents' marital strife affects toddlers' sleep

Published On: May 11 2011 03:06:55 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 30 2013 11:45:11 AM CDT
toddler sleeping

iStock / aphrodite74

Infants exposed to their parents' marital discord may be more likely to experience sleep issues during toddlerhood.

That's the conclusion to a new study published in the journal Child Development. Specifically, the study found that marital instability when an infant was 9 months old predicted whether the child would have issues falling asleep and staying asleep at 18 months of age.

"It's important to be aware of how the quality of the marital relationship might influence a child's functioning," says Anne M. Mannering, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an instructor at Oregon State University. "It may be important earlier in [a child's] development than people may think."

Mannering and her team followed 357 families, all of whom had adopted infants during the first three months of the child's life. None of the infants followed in the study were genetically related to their parents or had any major medical conditions.

"We only looked at adoptive families ... to rule out the possibility that any relationship that we see between sleep issues and marital problems are due to shared genes," explains Mannering.

Each family's parents were interviewed when their infant was 9 months old. To measure what, if any, degree of marital instability each couple was experiencing at the time, they were asked "fairly serious" questions about their union, including whether either partner had considered divorce or separation. The parents then independently answered a questionnaire about their child's ability to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night.

Mannering and her team then conducted follow-up interviews when each child was a year and a half. Both parents were asked to answer the same questions from their first interview about their marriage and their child's sleeping patterns.

"We found that marital instability when infants are 9 months of age can predict sleep issues when at 18 months of age but we didn't find the opposite," says Mannering. So a child's sleep difficulties didn't predict the parents' marital disharmony.

"Sleep patterns did not predict marital instability later on," she said.

While Mannering's study does not explain what biological mechanism is behind the association between marital strife and sleeping patterns, she hypothesizes that stress in the child's environment could play a role.

"There's previous evidence that young infants' experiences can definitely shape brain systems that respond to stress very early on," says Mannering.

Comments

The views expressed are not those of this company or its affiliated companies. Please note by clicking on "Post" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms Of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. 
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • Witnesses to Fatal Crash

    Eyewitnesses See Triple Fatal Crash from Roadside Camp

    A homeless couple watching the freeway from their campsite in Santa Barbara this morning, witnessed the triple fatal accident that took the lives of two teens and a young man.

  • Triple Fatal Auto Accident on Highway

    DUI Driver in Fatal Early Morning Accident Ordered to Detox Program in 1995

    The Santa Barbara woman arrested for DUI in the early morning accident that left three people dead early Monday morning has a lengthy court record out of Ventura County. Kimberly Kreis, 52, was ordered to serve 30 days in a detox program as far back as 1995.

    The car that Kreis was driving crashed into a disabled Mazda near the Castillo off-ramp of the southbound 101 freeway in Santa Barbara. Two 17 year old North Torrance High School students were killed in the accident- Jessica Leffew and Danielle Murillo. 20 year old Brian Lopez also died in the wreck. The driver of the Mazda, Eric August, is hospitalized in critical condition.

    A NewsChannel 3 investigation found records out of Ventrua County that appear to show that Greis has at least one prior conviction involving drugs and or alcohol, and in 1995 she was ordered to serve 30 days in a Cottage Hospital detox program.

    CHP investigators are still trying to piece together why the Mazda veered right into a guardrail, causing it to flip onto it's roof before coming to rest in the middle of the southbound freeway, which set into motion the deadly accident.

    CHP Officer Jonathan Guiterrez, said "A lot of things could have happened, He could have fallen asleep. We just don't know at this point."

  • Santa Barbara Fatal Accident Folo

    Extensive Investigation into Triple Fatal Accident

    An extensive investigation is underway to determine the cause of death in a triple fatal rollover accident Monday morning in Santa Barbara.

  • Parents of Mallory Dies Sue Congresswoman, Her Former Aide, and U.S. Government

    The parents of a young Santa Barbara woman killed in a high profile, DUI case are suing Congresswoman Lois Capps, her former aide Raymond Morua, and the U-S government in federal court.

  • Larry Lee Cal Poly Coach

    Cal Poly Baseball Earns No. 1 National Ranking

    The Mustangs achieved the school's second No. 1 national ranking in Division I as Collegiate Baseball Newspaper has placed Cal Poly atop its Top 30.

  • fuzion_store_business_santa_barbara

    UCSB Group Boycotts Business For Promoting Deltopia

    A UCSB student group is boycotting a local business for creating the Deltopia Facebook page, which they said brought in thousands of outsiders to the small college town.

  • girl_child_coughing_sick_whooping_cough

    Contagious Diseases Making a Comeback in California

    Deadly diseases that were a thing of the past are making a comeback in California.

  • Slideshow: 3 Dead In Early Morning Accident, Driver Arrested For DUI

    The 101 southbound through Santa Barbara reopened just before 12:30 Monday afternoon as authorities investigate what they say was a deadly two car DUI accident.

  • Netflix file

    Brian Snyder/Reuters

    14 alternatives to Netflix

    Out of love with Netflix? Check out these alternatives to the company's instant streaming and DVD-by-mail services.