Study- Parents’ marital instability affects infants’ sleep


When you are pregnant, the first thing you hear from your friends and co-workers is to get your sleep.  After the baby is born, you will miss good six-seven hours of sleep at least for six months.  Lack of sleep can create tense relationship between parents.  A study published in Child Development reported a different phenomenon that infants sleep can get affected due to marital instability between parents.  This was the reverse of what you would think; but it brings up an important point for parents that they should maintain healthy relationship, do that your infant can sleep like a baby.

What did the study involve?
The research was conducted at Oregon Social Learning Center by Anne Mannering, an instructor in human development and family sciences at Oregon State University.

  • Researchers evaluated more than 350 families with babies between age of 9 months and 18 months.
  • Researchers wanted to characteristics coming in child caused by shared genes or personality, so all the babies had been adopted.
  • Marital instability was evaluated by a standard four-point research measure, with couples answering questions independent of one another, such as, “Has the thought of separating or getting a divorce crossed your mind?”
  • The couples were mostly middle class, white, and fairly educated; all had adopted a baby within the child’s first three months of life

What were the results of the study?
The researchers found that

  • Instability in the parents’ relationship when the children were 9 months...

    old predicted the babies would have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep when they were 18 months old.
  • The higher a couple scored on marital instability measures, the greater the likelihood of them reporting their children had sleep problems — falling asleep, staying asleep or frequent night waking.

Mannering stated that “Even if they’re not able to cognitively comprehend what’s going on, if there’s some level of stress, it can still influence an infant in some way.”

Researchers now want to evaluate if marital instability of parent cause sleep disruption up to 2 years of child’s age. This research may have come as a surprise to some of you, but it is worth considering that healthier your relationship is, better is for your child mental health, which could be affect by inadequate sleep.  It may be difficult to stay with all the sleepless nights, may be focusing on how adorable your child is, can relieve some of the tension.

Healthy Parenting!

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