Children's emotional security and sleep: Longitudinal relations and directions of effects

Peggy Keller, Mona El-Sheikh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Background: We examined longitudinal relations between children's sleep and their emotional security in the mother-child, father-child, and parental marital relationships, with the goal of explicating the direction of association over time. Gender-related effects were also examined. Method: Sleep duration was examined through actigraphy, and sleep quality was assessed via both actigraphy and self-reports. Children were in 3rd (T1) and 5th (T2) grades. The sample was composed of 78 boys and 98 girls at T1, and 62 boys and 80 girls at T2. Results: Security in the child-mother, child-father, and marital relationships at T1 were predictive of sleep problems two years later even after controlling for children's sleep at T1. Conclusions: Collectively, results were more supportive of security predicting sleep parameters than the other direction of effects. Results highlight the important associations between family functioning and children's sleep, and extend the literature through the longitudinal design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • attachment
  • emotional security
  • longitudinal
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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