Sleep arrangements and maternal adaptation in infancy

Molly S. Countermine, Douglas M. Teti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Among the many decisions that parents make regarding child-rearing practices, an important one involves sleep arrangements. Little is known about the relationship between chosen sleep arrangements, parents' adaptation to these choices, parental sleep quality, spousal support, and parental distress. Forty-five mothers and fathers with infants 1 to 24 months old completed measures of parental attitudes and practices regarding sleep arrangements. Shared sleep with one's infant was associated with poorer parental adaptation to infant sleep disruption, and this was true even when parents endorsed the practice of sharing sleep with their infants. Among mothers, shared sleep and poorer adaptation to infant sleep were significantly associated with elevated depressive symptoms, poorer sleep quality, and spousal criticism directed to mothers about where the infant slept during the night. For mothers, criticism from their spouses about where the baby slept, mothers' sleep quality, and depressive symptoms mediated the link between sleep arrangements and maternal adaptation. Results emphasize the importance of taking into account individual differences in the quality of parents' adaptation to infant sleep behavior, a construct largely ignored in the child sleep literature to date, in understanding linkages between infant sleep quality and infant-parent outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)647-663
Number of pages17
JournalInfant Mental Health Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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