SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

In an experiment of nature, a normal cohort of parents who were raised under communal sleeping arrangements (CSA) in Israeli kibbutzim are raising their infants at home under home-based family sleeping arrangements. The present study focused on exploring the links between the early sleep experiences of CSA parents and their present sleep-related beliefs and behaviors. In particular, the study assessed whether the cognitions of CSA parents regarding infant sleep differ from cognitions of parents who were raised under home-based family sleeping arrangements. Furthermore, parental soothing methods and infant sleep patterns were compared. One hundred forty-one families participated in this study. The children's ages ranged between 4.5 to 30 months. Parental cognitions were evaluated by two questionnaires. Infant sleep was assessed by a questionnaire and by daily parental reports. As expected, CSA parents were more likely than were control parents to: (a) interpret infant night wakings as a sign of distress and (b) actively soothe their infants at bedtime, co-sleep with them, and report more night wakings of their infants. These findings support the hypothesis that early childhood sleep-related experiences of parents (“Ghosts in the Nursery”) influence their parental sleep-related cognitions that in turn affect infant sleep patterns.