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Daytime Sleep and Parenting Interactions in Infants Born Preterm

Schwichtenberg, A. J. PhD*; Anders, Thomas F. MD*; Vollbrecht, Melissa BS; Poehlmann, Julie PhD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: January 2011 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 8-17
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0b013e3181fa57e4
Original Article

Objective: After a transactional perspective, this longitudinal study assessed concurrent and time-lagged associations between infant daytime sleep behaviors and maternal play interactions within a sample of infants born preterm.

Method: Data were collected from 134 families recruited from 3 Wisconsin neonatal intensive care units. Multiple methods were used to collect data at infant neonatal intensive care unit discharge and when infants were 4, 9, and 24 months postterm, including parent report infant sleep logs, family sociodemographic assets, and a 15-minute video-taped play session.

Results: Within time points, infants who napped more had mothers who were rated as more positive and communicative or less negative during play interactions at 4, 9, and 24 months compared with infants who napped less. Time-lagged findings indicated that infants who took more naps experienced more optimal maternal interactive behaviors later in development than infants who took fewer naps. In addition, mothers who expressed more negative affect at 4 or 9 months predicted more infant daytime sleep later in development.

Conclusion: Previous studies document that nighttime parent-child interactions influence nighttime sleep. This study presents the natural extension that daytime sleep influences daytime interactions. This study draws attention to the understudied area of daytime naps in young children and provides support for the longitudinal bidirectional processes between sleep and parenting interactions.

From the *Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, MIND Institute, University of California, Davis, CA; †Human Development and Family Studies, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI.

Received March 2010; accepted July 2010.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Wisconsin.

Address for reprints: A. J. Schwichtenberg, PhD, University of California, MIND Institute, 2825 50th Street, Sacramento, CA 95817; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.