Doctor of Philosophy
Dr. Graham Reid
Throughout the night, brief periods of arousal are common and not necessarily indicative of problematic sleep. Awakening without an easy return to sleep (“night-waking”), however, can be problematic for parents and children alike. Approximately 30% of preschool-aged children wake at least once per night and require parental intervention (“help or assistance”). Although parents’ responses to children’s night-waking (i.e., parents’ night-waking strategies) can determine the course of night-waking over time, very little is known about night-waking strategy use among parents of preschool-aged children. The purpose of the present dissertation was to lay the foundation upon which a better understanding of the relationship of parenting to night-waking among preschool-aged children can be built. In order to accomplish this goal, four measures were created: the Children’s Night-waking Behaviour Scale (CNBS), the Night-waking Vignettes Scale (NVS), the Parents’ Night-waking Thoughts and Affect Questionnaire (PNTQ), and the Night-waking Strategies Scale (NSS). Rigorous measurement development protocols were followed. These measures, as well as parent-report measures of children’s night-waking and questionnaires used to assess construct validity, were completed by a sample of 203 mothers (M age = 32.4 years, SD =5.1) of preschool-aged children (M age = 3.4 years, SD = 1.0). All four measures displayed adequate to good reliability and promising evidence of convergent validity was observed. Significant associations between the measures and children’s night-waking were also observed. Following measurement development and validation, a series of multiple regressions were conducted to explore associations among the measures and identify areas for further research. In these regressions, mothers’ night-waking strategies (as measured by the NSS) were significantly predicted by children’s behaviour during night-wakings (as measured by the CNBS), mothers’ agreement with night-waking strategies (as measured by the NVS), and mothers’ thoughts and affect during night-waking episodes (as measured by the PNTQ). Clinical and research implications of these findings are discussed.
Coulombe, Aimee J., "Parenting at Midnight: Measuring Parents' Thoughts and Strategies to Help Young Children Sleep Through the Night" (2010). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 56.