Temperament and sleep behaviors in infants and toddlers living in low-income homes

Temperament is a vibrant trait that can be moulded by maturity and environmental experiences. A recent study determined if and the extent to which temperament was predicted by sleeping behaviors in a scantly studied sample of 150 primarily Black and White infants and toddlers living in low-income homes. 

Sleeping behaviors were evaluated at 15–19 months of age with caregiver reports of the Tayside Children’s Sleep Questionnaire. Temperament was investigated as effortful control, negativity, and surgency employing the Infant Behavior Questionnaire Very Short Form at 9–12 months of age and employing the Early Childhood Behavior Questionnaire Short Form at 20–24 months of age. 

Maternal education, household income, and child sex and race were the Covariates. Repeated variables were standardized, and then missing data from independent variables were multiply imputed in 20 datasets. 

Regression analyses revealed that ~1 SD improvement in toddler sleep behaviors can substantially forecast ~1/5 SD better toddler effortful control. However, it does not markedly predict toddler surgency or negative effect. 

This study shows that for a sample of infants and toddlers in low-income homes, the way a child learns to regulate sleeping behaviors may affect the development of overall effortful control about six months later.

Source: Bates RA, Singletary B, Dynia JM, Justice LM. Temperament and sleep behaviors in infants and toddlers living in low-income homes. Infant Behavior and Development. 2021;65. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infbeh.2021.101657.

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