Difficulties in regulation of sleep-wake cycles could be seen as a transient perturbation caused by a critical period in the developmental process. Anders, Goodlin-Jones, Sadeh (2000) proposed the term sleep-onset and night-waking protodyssomnias for children to emphasize a potential precursor of a later full-blown dyssomnia. Caregiver insensitivity to infant emotional needs, separation problems in both caregiver and infant, maternal depressive symptoms and/or anxiety may be risk factors underlying persistent parent-infant difficulties in resolving sleep problems. Results have shown empirical data in agreement to previous research (Morrell, Cortina-Borja, 2002); excessive parental ‘active physical comforting’ (e.g., cuddling in arms, settling on sofa with parent, co-sleeping in the parental bed) strategy use was related to infant sleeping problems. Furthermore, our results are in line with other studies (Seifer et al., 1996; Warren et al., 2006; Yamada, Dawson, 1997) enlightening developmental risk factors may result from co-occurent variables, including maternal depressive symptoms, dysfunctional patterns of interactions, and comorbidity between child sleeping disturbances and emotional-relational problems that may affect functioning and lead to present and subsequent adaptation difficulties. Suggested screening methodology gives empirical evidences for prevention programs planning and for parenthood supporting.
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