Maternal Depressive Emotion Associated With Children's Sleep Problems

Posted on June 7, 2018

A study revealed that maternal depressive mood during the prenatal and postnatal periods is related to child sleep disturbances. The study included 833 kindergarteners with mean age of about six years old. Women's emotional status, including prenatal/postnatal depressive emotion and perceived happiness throughout trimesters, was rated by a self-designed set of questions with a 5-point scale for happiness and a 3-point scale for depression. Sleep problems were assessed using the sleep subdomain of the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL). Child behavioral problems were measured using the CBCL total score. General linear models were performed to examine the adjusted associations between childhood sleep problems and maternal emotional status.

Adjusted models showed that children of women who expressed either depressive emotion during the postnatal period or during both the prenatal and postnatal periods were more likely to exhibit sleep disturbances. Similarly, increased levels of happiness in the second and third trimester were significantly associated with decreased risk for children's sleep problems.

According to principal investigator and lead author Jianghong Liu, PhD, the most surprising thing about the results was the mediation role of child behavior in the maternal emotion-children's sleep quality relationship, which demonstrates that emotion during pregnancy affects child behavior which further affects child's sleep. Furthermore, it was found that happiness increased across the trimesters and that happiness during the second and third trimester was protective against child sleep problems.

Overall, these results promote the care-taking of maternal health and happiness during pregnancy and encourage the roles of familial and community support in aiding expecting mothers. This will benefit not only maternal health but also the long term behavioral and sleep health of their child.

Category(s):Child Development, Depression

Source material from Science Daily

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