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Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type

Article

Abstract

Maternal sleep deprivation due to caring for an infant during the night has been found to be related to deficits in maternal mood and functioning during the first year of the infant’s life. Perceptions of sleep deprivation are particularly important to assess when examining the relations between infant night awakening and maternal health and well-being because perceptions influence caregiving behaviors. Forty mothers of three-to- four-month-old infants enrolled in a larger study exploring maternal interaction with young infants were examined. The objective of this pilot study was to explore how perceptions of sleep deprivation in a particular group of mothers categorized as highly sleep deprived resulting from infant night awakening were associated with ratings of the infant and interaction within the dyad. As hypothesized, there were strong positive relationships between perceptions of sleep deprivation and ratings of the infants and interactions in the highly sleep deprived group of mothers only. These associations have implications for future research, which needs to examine how these perceptions of highly sleep deprived mothers influence actual behavioral interactions with infants.

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