Parents' Perceptions of Infants' Nighttime Sleep Patterns Predict Mothers' Negativity: A Longitudinal Study

Dana Vertsberger, Liat Tikotzky, Oriya Baruchi, Ariel Knafo-Noam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objective:Infants' sleeping patterns can influence parents' sleep and their well-being. Infants' sleeping problems can evoke negative emotions from their parents because of the influence the problems have on parents' lives. However, little is known regarding the associations between infants' night sleep patterns and parents' overall negativity toward their children. The objective of this study was to study this association.Methods:In a longitudinal design, we followed infants and their parents from 9 to 18 months. Overall, 392 families participated in the study. Parents' negativity and children's sleeping patterns were assessed with questionnaires.Results:Parents' negativity and children's sleeping problems showed moderate continuity through the study's 9-month period. Children's sleeping problems at 9 months predicted an increase in mothers' (but not fathers') negativity at 18 months. Parents' negativity was not associated with infants' sleep problems.Conclusion:The results of this study suggest that already in infancy, children's tendencies, in this case sleep, can evoke negative emotions in their mothers and highlight infants' roles in the intricate parent-child relationship.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)307-313
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.


  • children's sleep
  • longitudinal design
  • parental negativity


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