Parents' marital strife affects their baby's sleep

Last Updated: Wed, May 11, 2011 12:40 hrs

A new study has found that couples having marital difficulties are more likely to have infants who are losing sleep, which may have a continuing impact on them.

Specifically, researchers found that marital instability when the child was ninth months old was related to child sleep problems at 18 months, including difficulties falling asleep and staying asleep, according to Anne Mannering, an Oregon State University faculty member.

"If sleep problems persist, this can correlate with problems in school, inattention and behavioral issues," Mannering said.

"Parents should be aware that stress in the marriage can potentially impact their child even at a very young age."

Researchers interviewed more than 350 families with adopted infants in order to eliminate the possibility that these shared genes influence the relationship between marital instability and child sleep problems.

"Our findings suggest that the association between marital instability and children's subsequent sleep problems emerges earlier in development than has been demonstrated previously," she said.

The study has been published in the journal Child Development. (ANI)

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