Researching congruence between popular sleep advice and research; effect of temperament on sleep training outcomes
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My work focuses on the intersection of popular parenting advice about infant sleep and underlying research. A related research thread is the impact of an alert/intense/sensitve temperament on sleep and parenting.
April 2017 - present
- Maven is an online women's healthcare portal. I consult with parents about their child's sleep.
October 2008 - December 2008
- Research Assistant
July 2008 - present
- Professor (Associate)
- Teach Introduction to Research Methods to all graduate counseling students in the Mental Health Counseling, Marriage & Family Therapy, Art Therapy, and Drama Therapy tracks.
(NOTE: This research is currently being updated to reflect research since 2007 and will be presented Summer of 2022 -- See separate listing for this poster). ABSTRACT: The most empirically supported and endorsed approaches to preventing or ameliorating infant sleep problems involve various forms of extinction (crying it out). This approach is wide...
Approximately 10% of infants can be classified as difficult (Thomas & Chess, 1977) (also irritable, fussy, temperamentally frustrated, or unsettled). Such terms refer to a constellation of traits related to difficulties with self-regulation and heightened reactivity resulting from low sensory thresholds and higher levels of emotional intensity (Rot...
While studies have been conducted to ascertain the experience of parenting a gifted child post-identification, less is known about the experience prior to identification, particularly in infancy. Many psychologists and psychiatrists traditionally equate giftedness with high IQ. However, giftedness is no longer seen in a unitary manner and confined...
Research and parenting advice consistently endorse the use of extinction to improve sleep in infants as young as 2- to 4-months and further submits that the intervention is fast, effective, and without side effects. Parents are told that crying will be worst on the first night and will quickly be extinguished in 3-4 nights. While it is understood t...
This research reviews the literature on the use of extinction for sleep in infants with a special focus on parenting advice endorsing the preventive use of extinction in infants under six months. The paper compares claims in popular advice to existing research to evaluate the congruence of advice with research and real-world parenting practice.
This poster provides information for clinicians about normative sleep development and easy strategies that they can offer to mothers with postpartum mood challenges. Information is developmentally-focused and considers the whole family system.
For parents and professionals, “sleeping through the night” has grown in both importance and urgency as a necessary benchmark for infant as young as 3- to 6-months of age. Contemporary research contends that failure to establish unbroken nighttime sleep by 6-months of age may result in poor daytime behavior, family stress, and sleep problems in the...
Three important questions are covered in this poster: • Does nightwaking that involves parental attention invariably constitute a sleep problem for children and parents? • Does a paradigm of independent, self-settling infant sleep patterns represent a solution or an added stressor? • Are children’s nighttime behaviors and parental sleep interventio...
Background: At one time, sleep deprivation was synonymous with early parenting. Today, “sleeping through the night” has grown in importance and urgency and parents increasingly turn to the popular media for guidance (Simpson, 1997). Such sources, however, can be inconsistent and even inaccurate in matters concerning child health and development (Im...
Parents of young children in the U.S. can be at risk for burnout. Children who are temperamentally more intense, sensitive, persistent, and engaged require more from their parents. It is likely that burnout among these parents is even more prevalent. Some research has looked at the child's personality factors as contributory to outcomes; however, an examination of how temperament might influence burnout, especially among mothers has not been examined.
To assess the effectiveness of parental fading (gradual withdrawal of active soothing behavior before sleep) versus graduated extinction to improve sleep onset and nightwaking in 6-month-old infants. Two intervention groups will be compared to a sleep hygiene info-only control group and a non-intervention control group.
Approximately 10% of infants can be classified as difficult (Thomas & Chess, 1977) (also irritable, fussy, temperamentally frustrated, or unsettled). Such terms refer to a constellation of traits related to difficulties with self-regulation and heightened reactivity resulting from low sensory thresholds and higher levels of emotional intensity (Rothbart, 2011). Temperamentally difficult infants typically have eating and/or sleeping problems (Novosad et al., 1999), are more reactive, and less able to calm down without assistance (Calkins et al., 2002). As a result, parents experience higher rates of stress (e.g. Oddi et al., 2013), depression, and anxiety (e.g. Britton, 2011). Popular parenting discourse has identified various positive aspects of a challenging temperament. These constructions (e.g. active/alert, Budd, 2003; highly sensitive, Aron, 2002; high needs, Sears & Sears, 1996; spirited, Kurcinka, 1999) highlight both the challenge and the potential value of difficult traits. While parents of temperamentally-intense children report significant problems with sleep, self-soothing, and tantrum behaviors, they also report high levels of alertness, perceptiveness, empathy, and precocious verbal and/or motor ability (Kurcinka, 2011). Are there, then, potential “upsides” of difficult infant temperament that have been overlooked by the existing focus on risk factors?