Maternal depressive symptoms and child sleep: models of mutual influence over time

Dev Psychopathol. Winter 2006;18(1):1-16. doi: 10.1017/S0954579406060019.


The aim of the research was to test hypotheses concerning the associations between maternal depressive symptoms and child sleep using longitudinal data to examine possible predictive pathways. Data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care with 1222 children studied from 1 to 36 months of age were analyzed to examine: effects on trajectories over time, and phase-specific effects over three defined age periods (6 to 15, 15 to 24, and 24 to 36 months). Child sleep was found to influence maternal depressive symptoms only for the 15- to 24-month age period, where, contrary to expectation, longer duration of child awakenings predicted decreased maternal depressive symptoms. Maternal depressive symptoms were found to predict an increased frequency of child awakenings across the 15- to 24-month age period only. In contrast, maternal depressive symptoms were found to significantly predict increased duration of child awakenings both for the 3-year trajectory and across the 15- to 24- and 24- to 36-month age periods. Additional research is needed to clarify the mechanisms by which maternal depressive symptoms predict increased duration of child awakenings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Depression / physiopathology*
  • Developmental Disabilities / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Maternal Behavior
  • Models, Psychological
  • Mothers
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology
  • United States
  • Wakefulness