Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Katherine H. Karraker.
Research has revealed that sleep deprivation deleteriously affects several aspects of adults' behavior, such as mood, cognition, and motor performance. One population that is subject to sleep deprivation and the accompanying consequences are parents of young infants. The present study explored how sleep deprivation, resulting from infant night awakening, affects the face-to-face interaction between mothers and their 3- to 4-month-old infants. Contrary to the proposed hypotheses the groups did not differ in sensitivity or contingent responsiveness. However, regression analyses revealed that depression and sleep deprivation together significantly predicted contingent responsiveness during the interaction. Mothers who were more depressed and sleep deprived were less likely than other mothers to smile or vocalize in response to an infant smile or vocalization. These findings suggest that maternal sleep deprivation, resulting from infant night awakening in combination with depression, suppresses their contingent responsiveness to their infants' social cues.
Wiedman, Cheryl, "Effects of maternal sleep deprivation on maternal sensitivity and contingent responsiveness" (2002). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 811.