This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Family Functioning and Children's Sleep Schedule, Quality and Quantity




Martin, Karen

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Although sleep problems are prevalent in U.S. children, very little is known about family variables associated with children’s sleep disruptions. The objective of this study is to examine children’s sleep quality and quantity in relation to family environment and functioning. The role of age, gender and puberty status in children’s sleep is also examined. A total of 23 boys and 18 girls participated in the study. Data were collected from children via interview as well as by employing objective measures of children’s sleep. Results indicated that family environments may play a significant role in children’s sleep processes. Positive family factors were related to some sleep outcome variables. Higher levels of adaptability/cohesion predicted a later wake time in children and a trend toward less total movement. Children’s perceived attachment to parents, perceptions of destructive conflict, and perceived threat regarding parental marital conflict were not significant predictors of children’s sleep. Most prevalent were findings indicating that parent-child conflict predicted multiple domains of children’s sleep, with children experiencing a higher frequency of parent-child conflict obtaining lower quantity and quality sleep. Age and puberty status acted as moderators of several of these relations. These findings provide preliminary data regarding the importance of family processes in relation to several facets of sleep in children.