AIM: To explore the role of maternal personality (hardiness), sleep-related cognitions and bedtime involvement in child sleep behaviour during the second post-natal year in a sample of spontaneous and assisted conception first-time mothers.
METHOD: Mothers (n = 134 (spontaneous (n = 81); assisted (n = 53) conception)) reported on a resilience measure (hardiness) during pregnancy and child sleep at 7 and 19 months post-partum. At 19 months post-partum, mothers also reported on their cognitions and involvement around their child's bedtime, and half the sample used Actigraph monitors (Acitiwatch-16, Mini Mitter Co. Inc, Bend, OR, USA) to validate maternal report of child sleep.
RESULTS: No significant differences were found between spontaneous and assisted conception mothers on any of the study variables; therefore, assisted and spontaneous samples were combined. Structural equation modelling confirmed that lower pre-birth maternal hardiness was associated with more problematic sleep-related cognitions (β = 0.23, P < 0.01) and involvement at bedtime (β = 0.29, P < 0.01) and poorer child sleep outcomes (β = -0.33, P < 0.001) during toddlerhood, even after considering concurrent maternal mood and child temperament.
CONCLUSIONS: Pre-birth maternal hardiness rather than mode of conception contributes to parenting cognitions and behaviour around child sleep and, ultimately, toddlers' sleep outcomes. Findings suggest that targeting negative maternal perceptions of control and efficacy through clinical interventions could benefit toddlers' sleep.
- assisted reproductive technology
- early childhood