STUDY OBJECTIVES: Night awakening is common in infancy, and some infants continue to have signaled night awakenings throughout early childhood. However, the influence of signaled night awakening on children's social development is less explored. In the present study, longitudinal associations between signaled night awakening, social information processing, and socio-emotional development were measured within the CHILD-SLEEP birth cohort in two groups formed based on parent-reported night awakenings.
METHODS: At 8 months, there were 77 infants in the waking group (≥3 awakenings) and 69 infants in the nonwaking group (≤1 awakening). At 8 and 24 months, social information processing was measured as children's attention to neutral and emotional faces, and at 24 months, parent-reported socio-emotional behavior was measured with the Brief Infant Toddler Social Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) questionnaire.
RESULTS: The two groups showed different patterns of attention to emotional faces. The waking group had a more pronounced attentional bias to fearful vs. happy faces, whereas in the nonwaking group, attention to fearful and happy faces did not differ. In addition, at 24 months, the waking group had more dysregulation problems and lower social competence than the nonwaking group, but no clear differences in internalizing or externalizing problems were found.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results contribute to the literature by showing that during the first two years of life, signaled night awakening is associated with social information processing and socio-emotional behavior.
|Publication status||Published - 2021|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
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