Factors associated with bed-sharing for African American and White mothers in Wisconsin

Matern Child Health J. 2015 Apr;19(4):720-32. doi: 10.1007/s10995-014-1545-5.


Mother-infant bed-sharing has been associated with a higher risk of sleep-related infant deaths, which affects African Americans at a disproportionately higher rate. Although "separate but proximate sleep surfaces" for infants has been recommended since 2005, bed-sharing remains a common practice, especially among African Americans. This study examined factors associated with bed-sharing among African American and White mothers. Separate logistic regression models were constructed for African American and White respondents to the 2007-2010 Wisconsin Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System. The sample consisted of 806 African Americans and 1,680 Whites (N = 2,486). A significantly larger proportion of African Americans (70.6 %) reported bed-sharing than Whites (53.4 %). For both races, partner-related stress was significantly associated with bed-sharing; no significant differences were found between the two racial groups. For African Americans, partner stress (OR 1.8: 1.2-2.6) and maternal education of 13-15 years (OR 2.0: 1.2-3.4) or ≥16 years (OR 2.7: 1.1-6.3) was associated with increased odds of bed-sharing. For Whites, partner stress (OR 1.3: 1-1.8), breastfeeding (OR 2.5: 1.9-3.1), income of $35,000-$49,999 (OR 1.6: 1.2-2.3), being unmarried (OR 1.5: 1.1-2.2), needing money for food (OR 1.6: 1.1-2.3), and non-supine sleep (OR 1.8: 1.2-2.6) were associated with increased odds of bed-sharing. Differences were found in bed-sharing factors between racial groups which suggests a need for culturally-relevant, tailored safe infant sleep interventions. Providers should ask families about their infant's sleeping environment and address safety issues within that environment. More research is needed on the context and reasons for bed-sharing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Educational Status
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Middle Aged
  • Mother-Child Relations* / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sudden Infant Death / prevention & control
  • Wisconsin / epidemiology
  • Young Adult