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Publication Detail
Infant sleep disorders and attachment: Sleep problems in infants with insecure-resistant versus insecure-avoidant attachments to mother
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Publication Sub Type:
    Journal Article
  • Authors:
    McNamara P, Belsky J, Fearon P
  • Publication date:
    16/04/2003
  • Pagination:
    17, 26
  • Journal:
    Sleep and Hypnosis
  • Volume:
    5
  • Issue:
    1
  • Status:
    Published
  • Print ISSN:
    1302-1192
Abstract
We hypothesized that infant sleep disorders would be significantly associated with infant-mother attachment status. Using current attachment theory, we specifically predicted that infants classified as insecure-avoidant would contrast with those classified as insecure-resistant (at 15 months of age) in terms of incidence and length of night wakings (at ages 6 and 15 months), as well as clinical sleep problems. Analyses of sleep and attachment data gathered on the insecure subset (n=342) of a larger sample of more than 1,000 mother-infant pairs indicated, as predicted, that infants with insecure-resistant attachments (n=49) evinced significantly greater numbers of night wakings and longer mean durations of night-waking episodes than their insecure-avoidant counterparts (n=193). Moreover, infants with insecure-resistant attachments were more likely than infants with insecure-avoidant attachments to evince clinically significant sleep problems. To explain our findings we suggest a special role for REM sleep in development of sleep problems and of emotional regulation vis a vis the mother.
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