Does Sleep Disturbance Among Parents of Infants Predict Increased Depressive Symptoms? Does Sleep Disturbance Among Parents of Infants Predict Increased Depressive Symptoms? Does Sleep Disturbance Among Parents of Infants Predict Increased Depressive Symptoms?

Zachary Blackhurst, Zachary Blackhurst, Scott Braithwaite, Julianne Holt-Lunstad, Patrick Steffen, Zachary Blackhurst
2016 unpublished
Research has shown that sleep disturbance (e.g., sleep latency, wakefulness after sleep onset [WASO]) negatively affects physical, emotional, and mental health. For many adults, the postpartum period is one that is particularly highlighted by sleep disturbance and fatigue. Postpartum mothers are also more vulnerable to psychiatric disorders such as depression. We sought to investigate whether the number of children and presence of an infant predicted clinically significant sleep disturbance,
more » ... eep disturbance, and subsequently, depressive symptoms, for both mothers and fathers. We found that having an infant was significantly associated with increased wife WASO, which in turn was associated with increased depressive symptoms for wives. Further, husband WASO was associated with decreased wife WASO which was similarly associated with decreased depressive symptoms for wives. Thus, by helping with nighttime care so that mothers can get more sleep fathers can greatly contribute to the physical and emotional health of mothers.
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