The Effect of Parental Internalizing Symptoms and Overprotection on Child Sleep Problems
Parents’ internalizing symptoms and parental overprotection are well established predictors of anxiety and depression in children. Impaired sleep in youth also predicts the onset of anxiety and depression later in life. To date, few investigations have looked at the impact of parental internalizing symptoms and overprotective parenting on children sleep problems. In the current thesis, we recruited 224 parents of 182 children aged 2-6 years. Parents completed questionnaires that assessed their symptoms of anxiety and depression, overprotective parenting, and children's sleep habits. Mother's symptoms of depression and father's symptoms of anxiety were related to worse sleep habits in their children. However, our sensitivity analysis did not confirm these findings. Maternal and paternal overprotection were associated with impaired sleep in children. These findings were confirmed by our sensitivity analysis. Modifying parents’ overprotective parenting behaviours may improve child sleep habits, and prevent the onset of later anxiety and depressive disorders.